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Charlie/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Massachusetts/Watertown, speaks English. Eye color is hazel.
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Saturday, August 16, 2003
No, Dammit, How Are You Doing?

I scream, you scream, we all scream for blog. Um, cream. Blog cream. Whatever that is.

Okay, kiddies, as promised (in the last post), this is going to be fairly brief. I've got to get myself all rested up for the barbecue tomorrow. We're expecting quite a few people; this will be the biggest party we've thrown in quite a while. Or should be, anyway, unless our friends are just saying they'll come as a joke. Which would sort of suck, I suppose. On the other hand, we'd be waist-deep in beer-soaked bratwurst and beef patties, which certainly doesn't sound like a bad thing. Oh, and we'd have approximately five and a half cases of beer to ourself, not to mention the martini and margarita fixings. Well, shit, now I don't know what the hell I want.

(I'm on a mission, by the way, to take 'fixings' back from the yokels in the southern U.S. who've bastardized it to mean 'intend'. As in, 'I'm a-fixin's to marry y'all, Maw.' Enough, I say. Let them have 'holler' and 'durn' and 'git'. They've already been irretrievably soiled; those words are dead to me now. But 'fixins', I think we can save. Help me out here, folks. Just use it every once in a while, would you? Not every day -- just once, maybe twice a week. Get it back in circulation. Right now, the only time we civilized folks hear about 'fixings' is on Thanksgiving, or at Boston Market. But anything that has 'accouterments' today can have 'fixings' tomorrow. You don't have a 'tangle of cables' behind your entertainment center; you've just got 'electrical fixings'. And ladies, you don't have to match your accessories to your outfit any more. Just 'coordinate your fixings'. Really. Try it -- you'll like it. Let's get this one word back from the heathens, shall we?)

So, anyway, I don't expect our friends to ditch our bash tomorrow. We should have lots of people to greet, and feed, and get drunk. It'll be fun. Well, except the greeting part, I'm afraid. See, I'm a natural introvert.

(Yes, I tend to hide it rather well. Thank you, dozens of strangers to which I'm broadcasting, for pointing that out. You're very perceptive.)

So, yes, I do cope with my affliction fairly well. But it sometimes involves little tricks that I have to use to help me break out of my shell. And one of the most common tricks is thinking about what I'm going to say before I say it. (If only politicians and in-laws could learn to do the same.) Now, I don't always do this, of course -- for one thing, I'd have to spend all of my time thinking about all the situations that might possibly arise during the day, and come up with something to say no matter what happens. Clearly, that's not feasible. Oh, it would be nice to have that pithy remark at the ready when Maggie strips off her pants and goes scooting across the floor, or Joe suddenly slumps over dead, but I just don't have that kind of time. Would that this were a simpler world.

But I do tend to prepare myself for likely scenarios. Not far in advance, you understand -- just a few seconds. I like to have something ready, just to prevent the garbled asininery that I just naturally think of from spilling out of my mouth. And it's a constant struggle. So, I plan ahead. And one of the situations I plan for is the greeting. When I see a friend approaching, I think fast, so I can have an appropriate salutation ready when we actually begin speaking.

And this serves me very well. For one thing, it makes me think about the person's name. I'm horrible with names. It's some kind of brain deficiency, I suspect. Tragic, really. But the truth is, I often draw blanks on people's names, and sometimes even with close friends, just for a second or two. So it's certianly better to have that second or two of panic before I'm actually talking to the person, rather than after. Sure, I may look pained, and then nervous, and finally relieved while I'm walking toward the person, as I fumble to look up their name in my head and then finally get it. But nobody ever calls me on that, as long as I'm ready when the curtian goes up on the actual conversation. Probably, they just think I'm breaking wind on my way over to them. Which is not good, I suppose, but still better than having a childhood chum realize that I have no idea what the hell to call him. There are levels of embarrassment out there, and that's very near the top of the list. Or at least the portion of the list that doesn't involve removing your pants.

So, anyway, I get by most of the time. When someone comes over to shake my hand or wave hello, I'm usually ready. I know who they are, I know what I'm going to say, and I know where my pants are. So I'm confident. But there's one teensy problem in all of this, and it happens every so often, to my great embarrassment. And this is the problem:

When the person that I'm greeting decides to say -- or just spontaneously says, if they're a more well-adjusted person than I -- exactly the thing that I was going to say, I'm screwed.

So, if I walk up to my buddy prepared to say to him, 'Hey, how's it going?', and he speaks first, saying, 'Hey, how's it going?', then I'm just fucked. I've got nowhere to go from that. One of two things happens at that point. In one scenario, my mouth, well-rehearsed and ready to go, gets ahead of my brain and deadpans, 'Hey, how's it going?' This, of course, makes me sound like a parroting buffoon. Now the person, who was this close to having a real, live, normal conversation with me, has no idea what I'm up to. Am I mocking him or her? Am I going to repeat every damn thing he or she says? Am I just a fucking moron? They don't know. They just know that they've made a big mistake in coming over to talk to me, and should have learned their damned lesson before. Clearly, no good can come of conversing with me.

Now, if I'm thinking quickly enough, I can go down the other road, but it's usually no better. Sometimes my brain will catch on to what's happening just in the nick of time, and detour the mouth before it gets me in trouble. That's detour, not stop. At that point, the mouth has to say something, or it'll seem rude. There's a greeting -- my greeting, the 'how's it going'-stealing bastard! -- hanging in the air, and it must be answered. It simply must. So my brain does it's best with an already-moving mouth, and throws whatever material it can manage down the neurons to my vocal cords. Nearly always, there's just not enough time to put together a full, coherent thought, test it out privately for grammar and tone, and get it down to the speech center. No, this shit has to happen fast, with no editing, and so I usually end up saying something like:

'Um. Guh. What are you going?'

or the ever-popular:

'Erk. Uh, how's it shaking?'

Clearly, I'm a moron. And a slow-witted moron, at that. Sure, I can think fast on my feet when I think I'm in trouble or about to be arrested, but when I'm just saying hello to a close personal friend? I'm Jell-o. Brainless goo. Katie Couric. I've just got nothing. It's one of the many crosses I have to bear. Pity me, dear reader. Pity me now.

So, I have just a bit of dread mixed in with the excitement for the barbecue later today. With all of those people coming over, I'm sure to run into this problem at least once, and probably several times. You know, I think I'll try a radical solution. Nothing else has worked, so why the hell not? I think tomorrow, if someone walks in the door and steals the line I'm about to greet them with, I think I'll just punch them in the face. Man, woman, child -- I don't care. Hey, it's not nice, but at least if I'm gonna feel like an ass, I'll have a good reason, right? I think this could work.

Well, I'm glad we had this little chat. I feel much better about tomorrow already. And hey, I know it's short notice, but if you're in the neighborhood, you should stop by. We've got plenty of food, and boatloads of alcohol, and it's gonna be a blast. And you'll like our friends. They're cool and shit. Just watch what you say to me when you get to the party, all right? Greet me in Spanish, or Pig Latin, or some shit like that. Better yet, just let me start the talking. 'Cause otherwise, you're just rolling the dice. And if you say the wrong thing, your first taste of the barbecue might be a knuckle sandwich. I don't want that, of course, but clearly, I can't be held responsible for what I might do. After all, you've just been warned.

Friday, August 15, 2003
Paper Bags for the Groceries, Please. And a Plastic One for the Ecstatic Drool.

This blog is ribbed, for your comfort and her pleasure. And vice versa, if you're into that sort of thing.

Hey, all. Yes, I'm playing the Fun With Timestamps game again tonight. I didn't blog all day, and then plopped down a few words just in the nick of time. No, really -- with mere seconds to spare. Check it out. And then, just to amuse myself, I started another post just a few seconds later, while the clock was still chiming the midnight hour. Boy, if anyone but me cared about such things, I would be so cool. But they don't, so I'm not. Bitches!

Anyway, look on the bright side. (As if you can call anything about this blog 'bright'.) Now, you're gonna get two posts in one. First, I'll finish this post, and then I'll get my second wind (or third, or fourth, by then) and spew forth another bunch of nonsense for the second post. I do this not because I have to, you understand. I do it because I care. See, I want to churn out some measure of rubbish around here every single day. For you, of course. Because I know you need this sort of thing, to brighten up your lives and cheer your hearts. (And just because reading this raises your spirits because your life suddenly seems much saner by comparison, I won't hold that against you. Much, anyway. Just send me twenty dollars and we'll call it even.)

Plus, it helps to be on a reasonably regular schedule, if you're planning on writing for any length of time. I think I read that on a cereal box once. Or got it in a fortune cookie, I forget. The point is that you've got to keep those creative juices flowing, or they might dry up and cause an obstruction of some sort. You want to stay 'regular', you eat lots of fiber. (Or you get enemas, I suppose, if the thought of turning your ass into a waterpark slip 'n' slide wets your whistle. Um, so to speak.) If you want to stay 'creative' and 'on the verge of insanity', you blog. Now, I don't know what the creative equivalent of acute constipation would be, but I imagine that it looks something like this. Or this. Eek.

(And no, you're right, I don't usually go for the political joke around here. But it's late, so I'm taking the easy way out and picking a few low-hanging fruit tonight. Or vegetables, as the case may be. Deal.)

So, anyway, it's gonna be two-for-one night at the old blog spot tonight. Come one, come all. Twice the boobery, twice the fun. No, not that kind of boobery, ya horny bastard. And no, I don't have twice as many of those as usual, either. Let's try and focus, shall we?

Now, where was I? Oh, right. Just getting started with the first topic of the evening-now-morning. Coming right up.

So, the barbecue is on for tomorrow. Which is the real reason I didn't get a chance to chit-chat with you folks earlier -- I spent the entire day shopping, and painting, and cleaning, and mowing the lawn, and trimming the bushes. My wife got in the act, too, and mopped the floors, and made some food, and straightened up the place. She didn't trim any bushes, though. Um, that I know of. Ya know, it's late. I think I'm just gonna leave that one riiiight where it is, lest I wind up getting myself bitch-slapped tomorrow. Just forget I ever mentioned bushes and trimming and my wife all in the same sentence, okay? Cool.

So, speaking of the barbecue, our test burgers were scrumptious last night. I think we've finally licked this grilling thing.

(Not the grill itself, mind you. Just the grilling 'thing'. You never want to actually lick the grill, of course. Oh, your saliva will save your precious tongue skin for a second or two, but soon enough, your mouthmeat's gonna stick to the grate, and then it's all over, dude. Trust me. I went through the better part of my twenties unable to taste 'sour' because I French kissed a Hibachi on a dare. Sure, I won twenty bucks, but was it really worth the skin grafts and horrific disfigurement and having lemonade taste like 'charred person ade' for several years? Um, well, actually -- it was twenty bucks. And I did use it to buy a case of beer and a sackful of White Castle Slyders. So, yeah, I guess it was. What do you know?

All right, back to our story in progress. So, bottom line, we were busy today scurrying around getting ready for tomorrow's bash. Most of the work was just that -- work -- and not terribly interesting, but I do want to share one experience with you that I found most... titillating. Yeah, I thought that'd get your attention. Perv.

So, I made two runs to the grocery store for this party. On the first -- on Thursday afternoon -- I got all the boring stuff. Veggies and buns and condiments and chips and paper plates and blah and et cetera and snoo-ooze. Just regular, everyday barbecue shit. The staples of everyday living, or perhaps tea on the lawn with the bridge club. Yes, that's exactly it -- we could have cucumber sandwiches and vegetable plates and sip our sodas with our pinkies skyward and have a jolly good show of it, mum. Pip pip. And then we could all strangle ourselves with our daisy chains or use our parasols to hari kari ourselves out of the mind-numbing boredom of it all.

Okay, so maybe that's laying it on a bit thick. But clearly, I saved the good stuff for the second trip. And good stuff it was, folks. Good stuff it was. I returned to our friendly local grocer's establishment this afternoon, and collected the following items:

  • five packages of hamburger patties
  • six packages of 'Beer'n Bratwurst' (from Johnsonville, natch)
  • two packages of chicken parts
  • one bottle each of tequila, vodka, gin, and vermouth
  • two bottles of margarita mix
  • three and a half cases of beer

Now, I don't know how many of you have experienced the sheer hedonistic rapture of going through the checkout line at a supermarket with two hundred dollars' worth of booze and dead animals, but I have to tell you -- it was damned near orgasmic. I thought about adding a carton of smokes and a couple of hookers to the cart, just to complete the picture of a man going straight to hell, and fast, but I decided to go with what I already had.

(Which is for the best, I think. For one thing, I don't smoke. I do like cigars, but there's a whole frickin' procedure to smoking those things that I can never quite get right. I'm always stickin' the wrong end in my mouth, or cutting what I'm supposed to bite off, or chewing when I'm supposed to be sucking. Uh, the cigar, that is. You know, now that I see it put that way, there in black and white, maybe I'm not such a big fan of cigars, after all. I never really thought of it that way before. I see David Letterman in a whole new light now.

Anyway, I was still gonna get the hookers -- they don't have much of a shelf life, but they'd keep until tomorrow. But I got there late, and all the good ones had already been taken. The only ones left to choose from were a kindly old grandmotherly sort who offered to 'gum you long time', a rather plump lass who said she could only help me if my friends were into 'watching' and 'feet' and especially 'watching feet', and two disturbingly hirsute sisters that made Patty and Selma Simpson look like the Barbi twins. So I just squeezed a couple of melons and headed for the checkout line.)

So, that was my trip to the store. Booze and meat, meat and booze. Two great tastes that taste great together. And will offend at least one of your senses the next morning, but that's beside the point. In fact, the point is that the burgers are chillin' in the fridge right now, while the brats are soaking in beer, and the chicken breasts are swimming in this unholy concoction of jerk marinade and hot sauce that I invented just for the occasion. Okay, so I invented it largely because I dropped the bottle of hot sauce and broke the lid, so I had to use it in something, and my wife wouldn't let me pour it into her pasta salad. Or on her T shirt. Or on the dog. Still, that doesn't mean it won't be tasty, 'cause it will. It just means that I'm going to have to find another way to spice up the pasta tomorrow. And the dog, come to think of it, but I'll worry about that later.

For now, I'm off to the next post. It's just about four am now, so it may be short, sweet, and to the point. Or as close as I can manage to get, which is about fourteen paragraphs full of blather. Or blither, maybe -- I'm too tired to tell the difference any more. Plus, I'm kind of distracted by my soaking meat. Um, ew! Okay, that's all I'm gonna say about that. I already ruined cigars for myself in this post; any more of this and I'll turn myself off of barbecues, too.

Thursday, August 14, 2003
You Sure You Didn't Accidentally Grill Your Shoe Out There?

Worth every penny you're not spending to read it.

So, we're having a barbecue this weekend. I may have mentioned it. (I mention a lot of things. It's hard to keep track of them all. I'm just one man, dammit!)

Anyway, we also have a nearly-new grill. I may have also mentioned that. I may, indeed, have even mentioned that our fantabulous new grill is one of those combo dealies, where you can cook with gas or cook with charcoal, depending on your mood. And your supply of propane and propane accessories. Uh-yep.

(If you didn't understand that last bit, it was a half-assed reference to King of the Hill. I have a weird history with that show. When I first saw it, I hated it. Loathed it like a cross-country trip with Joan Rivers. Yes, that bad. I think it was because it hit just a little too close to home -- I know some of the rednecks and hicks and backwards rabblerousers portrayed on that show. Really -- I know some of them very, very well, in fact. Which is why I don't attend reunions, be they with family or college classmates. Too many bad memories. And squirrel meat. And toothless grins. And introductions to, erm, 'sister-wives'. Let's just move on, okay?

So, as I said, and then painfully reinforced, I wasn't a fan of the show. But the assholes at Fox sandwiched the thing between cool shows like the Simpsons and Futurama for so long that I finally watched a few episodes. (They couldn't get me on Malcolm in the Middle, though. I know your tricks now, you network pantywaists!) Anyway, try as I might to resist it -- and I did -- the show grew on me a bit, and then a bit more, and then just a little more. It's still not my favorite, but as long as I keep in mind that these are Texan slack-jawed yokels, and not the variety that lives and drools where I grew up or went to school, then I can sit through an episode. And even giggle, just a little bit. I suppose in the end, it's good to know that dimwitted boobery knows no geographical bounds.)

All right, where the hell was I? Oh, right, the grill.

So, in preparation for our big hoedown... shit. I must have that damned show on the brain now. Ahem.

In preparation for our beer-soaked revelry, my wife and I decided to 'go charcoal' last night. And yes, there's probably some horrible, off-color joke about Thomas Jefferson in there somewhere. I'm not going there, dude; you're on your own.

Anyway, we'd tried out cooking with gas on the grill a couple of times, but we're planning something a little more special for Saturday, so we thought we should have a dry run, and try going the charcoal route. Dry run, indeed. While there was quite a bit of running, and no small amount of flailing -- we're very liberal with the flailing in this household, you understand -- our experiment turned out to be anything but dry. Please, let me explain. Oh, please. Pretty please? Okay, great. Here goes.

So, the wife bought a couple of steaklets for the occasion. Or something. Mini-steaks? Non-ground-up beef circles? I don't know. I really need to bone up on my meats. (And if I hear just one of you snicker about me 'boning up on my meats', I'm going to stop this blog right here! In the middle of the road! I'll do it! Don't make me come back there, people.)

Whatever they were, they came from a cow, and they didn't cost the crown jewels to buy. And there were three of them, each about the size of a hamburger patty, but just a bit thinner. (Unless you're used to eating at McDonalds, in which case they were much, much thicker. And brown instead of sickly gray. You wouldn't have believed it.) Anyway, that's about all I can tell you about the meat in question. I'm sure it has a name, but since I don't know it, I'll just call them 'cow patties', all right? That seems safe enough.

Hmm? What's that? That name's already been taken? And it means what, now? Ewwwww. Well, there goes the franchise I was thinking of starting. Bleh.

Okay, so anyway, my wife starts whipping up some sort of tasty sauce to slather over these UBOs (Unidentified Beefy Objects), while I head out back to man the grill. Now, once I got through all the Transformers-type manipulation I had to do to turn the Gas Grillin' Gorilla into Captain Charcoal, here's what the instructions for the grill said to do:

  • Pour an even layer of charcoal into the pan, one briquet deep.
  • Light the gas burners under the charcoal and fire briquets for 10 minutes with the grill cover down.
  • Lift the grill cover and continue to fire briquets for 10 minutes with the grill cover up.
  • Turn off gas lighters and let briquets burn for 10 minutes before cooking.

Fine. Simple, right? Easy to follow, clear instructions. But no. Here's what the instructions did not say:

  • Do not, under any circumstances, use MatchLight self-lighting charcoal, unless you want the entire apparatus to catch fire and shoot three-foot flames out the hole on the grill's ass.

Maybe that was implied; I don't really know. What I do know is that we did use MatchLight charcoal, we did have a fire raging inside the grill like a non-towering sort of inferno, and we did have bright yellow flames shooting out the grill's ass like it had been on a diet of habenero Ho-Hos for the last month. This, if you're one of those folks who has trouble connecting the dots, is where the running and flailing commenced. Oh, and the dousing, as well. This is the point at which our 'dry run' became more of a 'soggy scurry'.

The good news is that there doesn't seem to be any lasting damage to the grill. Unless you count a half-inch thick coat of soot 'damage'. (Hey, it didn't work in that personal harassment lawsuit some chick brought against me a couple of years ago, so I'm not going to start calling it 'damage' now. Of course, her hair will never really be clean ever again, but hey -- no conviction, no foul, right?)

The even better news is that the coals -- sorry, I just can't type 'briquets' anymore; it's bugging the shit out of me -- were spared the worst of the water's effects, and were still usable to grill our cow pieces.

The bad news is that the coals were still usable to grill our cow pieces. Or maybe the bad news is that I don't know what the hell I'm doing. (But if that's bad news, then I've pretty much got a damned raincloud over my head 24/7. So I'm making that not the bad news. New rule. You want to make my continuing ignorance 'bad news', you get your own blog, all right?)

Anyway, the end result of our little escapade was a set of three shrunken, purply-brown sad-looking cow patt-- er, circles. Sort of an accidental beef jerky. They tasted okay, but they weren't pretty. And they were tough. Oh, so very tough, and chewy, too. Wrigley would have been proud. We could have wrapped them in comics and sold them as 'Bazooka Beef'. It was bad, folks. Not quite as bad as those last two jokes, but still bad. Terribly, terribly bad.

Still, we ate 'em. How often do we get beef, anyway? And cooked on a grill, with a good sauce, to boot? Next to never. So we chowed down, and took some notes, and assesed the damage to the surrounding plants. We planned our next experiment for tonight, and I bought some new testicle patties for dinner. Um. Wait.

(See, that came out wrong. I have this charming habit of adding -icle to any word that sounds like test, but isn't. Like 'breast'. Lots of people say 'breasticle', right? You've heard that before. Well, I'm one of those people who likes to take a dead horse, beat it, bury it, dig it up, drag it through town behind my car, roll it down a hill, and beat it some more. So I go that extra mile, to really get under people's skins. I point out 'Resticle Stops' on the highway. I brush my teeth with 'Cresticle'. I look shocked and exclaim, 'Surely you jesticle!' You get the idea.

But I sometimes forget that 'test' itself is off limits. You -icle test and you get 'testicle'. Which is not only a real word, which confuses people, but it can also get me into some rather sticky situations. Uh, so to speak. Like eating 'testicle patties'. Ew! So let this be a lesson to you budding smart-asses out there. If you're pulling the same trick out there in the real world, among the heathens, ask yourself one question before applying everyone's favorite suffix: Is the word 'test'? If it is, then lay off, or you'll come out of it with egg on your face. Or, you know, worse. So be careful, and do the check before you speak. You ought to be able to handle it; it's a very simple testicle.

Damn, I did it again. I give up. I can only hope you have more luck with this than I do.)

Okay, what was I saying? Oh, right, tonight's test.

So, anyway, we're cooking tasty burgers tomorrow. (Or, as I'll say tomorrow, 'burgers with tasticles'. Yes, friends, I have no shame.) So, I picked up a four-pack of patties to grill up tonight, to see whether we can do any better, or whether we're going to have to make an enormous Wendy's run before the barbecue. But I bought new, non-lighter-fluid-doused charcoal this afternoon as well, so I can't imagine that it'll be any worse than our last attempt. Still, wish us luck. I'm involved, after all, so there are any number of startling ways that this could go wrong.

Come to think of it, I'd better go get started now. It's almost eight, and -- assuming we can follow simple instructions this time -- it'll take a half an hour to get the charcoal nice and toasty. I'll keep you posted on how things go. Or maybe I won't, if it's simply too embarrassing to relay. You never know. So if I don't recount the Tale of the Tasty Burgers to you tomorrow, rest assured that something went frighteningly, shamefully haywire. And don't ask any questions, just in case you're right. Which means no snickering if you see me writiing my post tomorrow with soot on my ears, or singed fingers, or no eyebrows. None, you hear me? Nobody likes a damned pesticle.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Oh, I Need a Clue, All Right... I'm Just Not Sure It's This One

It's my blog
It never slogs
It makes me want to snog a hog
Read it up; it's like brain nog

Okay, so today's tagline becomes even more disturbing, if you can imagine such a thing, when I tell you that it's based on the 'Mail Song' from Blue's Clues. And if you knew that already, congratulations. You're nearly as bad off as I am. Another couple of blows to the head should just about do it.

But what the hell -- as long as I'm on the subject: have you guys seen this show? I haven't watched it in a few months, but it always used to send me into giggling fits. Well, parts of it, anyway. Obviously, you have to ignore all the parts where they're trying to actually teach kids about shapes, or numbers, or laughing and pointing at people who are 'different'. Just fast-forward through that, or go get yourself a nice snack, or some creamy hot cereal. (It's an important part of a balanced breakfast, you know.)

What you don't want to miss out on is when the actual human in the show, whose character's name is 'Steve' (and whose real name is, um, Steve; look, they don't get all that creative for the pre-school crowd, okay?), is running around or musing or talking to the fake 'laugh track' of two-year-old slobbering goobers that poses for the 'audience'. Because that shit is hi-larious. Pure comedy gold.

Look at it this way. Here's Steve. He's equal parts Mister Rogers and Tobey Maguire. (And looks exactly like this guy from my softball team a couple of years ago. Whose name was... Steve. Purely coincidence? Um, yeah, almost certainly. Oh, well.)

So, if you've never seen the show, just try to imagine our striped sleuth traipsing around chasing after a blue dog and other creatures that are all made of paper and cardboard and move around as though they're Barbie dolls being piloted by four-year-old girls. In other words, unsteadily, stiffly, and jerkily. Sort of like your first time in the back of your date's Pontiac Grand Am back in high school. Or the Barbie doll thing, you pick. Are you in the mood for 'G' or 'PG-13' rated analogies? It's up to you; I'm all about choices here.

So, just the fact that they've got this guy in his faux Charlie Brown togs frolicking around among household objects come to life is amusing enough. At least, to me. If you can't tell from reading this blog, it doesn't take much to tickle my humerus. Apparently. Anyway, then you start to think about the implications of this house that 'Steve' (who is really Steve; don't get confused) is living in.

For instance, let's have a look at a few of Blue's friends.
(Pictures are from Gazehound's Blue's Clues pages.)

First, there's Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper. Shakers with arms. Charming, no? But what I wonder is this: when Steve's out of salt, or needs to fill up on pepper, wouldn't he have to unscrew their frickin' heads to get more in there? And wouldn't that hurt, just a bit? Come to think of it, could Steve even use salt and pepper in that house? He'd be flipping them upside down and shaking out their insides, after all. Seems a little like being strung up by your ankles and having your pancreas jostled out through your nose. Or your lungs. Ew. No, thanks.

While we're at it, let's look at this unholy thing. This is baby Paprika. She's apparently the bizarre spawn of the spicy couple above. Which begs the question, just how exactly did these two 'get it on'? I mean, where the hell are their uglies, and how in God's name did they bump them? That's to say nothing of the fact that pepper plus salt gets you... well, I don't know. Salty pepper, I guess. But not paprika. I'm no expert on foodstuff genetics, but I'd have to guess that Mrs. Pepper's been getting some lovin' from the mailman, if you know what I mean. I bet she gets jiggy all over the spice rack. Mustard seeds, tarragon, you name it. Bitch probably does the nasty with celery salt. Tsk. Whore.

Then, there's shovel and pail. Now, they've gotta be pissed. For one thing, everybody else on this damned show's got a name. The dog's got a name, the clock's got a name, even the damned condiments have names. And what are the shovel and pail called? 'Shovel and pail'. Bitches. (Of course, Steve's got the same beef, I guess. Where's the love?) But of the two, shovel's obviously got it worse. Sure, pail gets loaded up with all manner of sand and rocks and crap and gets carried around by his ears. It's no picnic being pail; don't get me wrong. But did you look closely at the picture of shovel? It's a little hard to see, but his face is on the scoop part of the shovel. So every time he gets dipped into sand, or dirt, or a big juicy pile of Blue shit, he's getting it all in his mouth and nose and eyes and everywhere. He just gets grabbed by the legs and dunked in Heaven-knows-what, like one big nasty swirly after another. What the hell kind of life is that?! What are we teaching kids, anyway?

I'm not even going to talk about Magenta, who appears to be Blue's personal bitch. (No, really, she's a bitch. Literally. It's okay. Breathe.) All's I know is that if she spends more than thirty seconds on that show and there's not some serious ass-sniffing and face-licking and dominant humping and territorial pissing happening, then it's just not realistic. I've got a dog. I know what goes down out there on the streets.

So, still with me? My, we are sick and twisted, aren't we? (Or desperate for a blog to read. Either way, I'll keep going. You really shouldn't encourage me like this...)

It gets better. For the show -- please, please tell me it's just for the show -- the producers have given Steve a partial lobotomy, which I presume is to allow three- and four-year-olds the chance to catch up every now and then. But it's ever so much fun to watch our green-clad goon stumble and bumble around like an addled wino, 'trying' to figure out what to do next. It usually goes something like this:

Steve: Dum-de-dum. Well, that was fun. I wonder what'll happen next. Maybe I'll go into Mr. John and take a big nasty --
Audience: Steve! Steve! A clue!
Steve: Hmmm? What's that?
Audience: It's a clue! A clue! Look behind you!
Steve: A shoe? Well, yeah, I've got two shoes. They're called Mr. Lefticle and Tighty Righty. You want to talk to them?
Audience: No, not a shoe. A clue!
Steve: A what? I'm gonna spew? No, no, I'm good. My hangover's finally gone. But thanks for asking.
Audience: No, no. Steve -- a clue! A Blue's clue!
Steve: Huh? Elisabeth Shue? No way, dudes! She's fuckin' hot! I'll slip her some paprika! Where is she? Where?
Audience: No, Steve, look behind you! It's a cah-looo.
Steve: Wha? Oh, a clue. A clue! Hey, a clue! Well, liquor me up and wrap me in leather. It is a clue. You're so smart!

Well, something like that, anyway. I took out as much of the foul language as I could. This is a family blog, after all. But it's pretty entertaining, even if you haven't had a couple of six-packs before it comes on at nine in the morning. (Though it's oh so much funnier if you have. I highly recommend it, if you haven't tried it yourself.)

And, then, just to top it all off, if you actually start to get bored with the show, just remind yourself of the reality of it all. The responses and paper cutouts and backdrops and all are added later. At the time this poor sod is actually delivering his lines and drooling on himself and dancing around like a crackhead maniac, it's just him. He gyrates in front of a green screen, and talks to air, and reaches out and plays with nothing. To him, the actor, it's an elaborate charade that he probably has to get all hopped up on gin and pills to recreate every day. How else could he maintain that manic wackiness and nonstop innocent oblivion? I mean, I suppose he could bang his head in the car door a few times before he walks into the studio, but I think the pills and booze are the way to go. That's just me. In my book, self-medication trumps self-mutilation every time. But that's just me, now. Your mileage may vary.

So, that's that. I've spent an hour or more waxing poetic about a television show for four-year-olds. This is either the very pinnacle of my blogging career, or the lowest point that I can possibly reach. Eh, fuck it. Either way, I can crack open a beer later and think about what I've done. Hey, maybe TiVo's taped an episode or two for me, too. That would be sweet! Goodness knows I told it to tape just about every other animated piece of garbage on TV. So we'll see.

In the meantime, just in case you think I'm bluffing about the whole thing, I have a small confession to make. I don't remember how I got it, or if I personally bought it, but I own this. Or something horrifying similar. The one I have has little magnets on all the feet, and is clinging precariously to my refrigerator as we speak. Er, type. And read. And whatever else you might be doing right now. Anyway, it's on the fridge. It makes me smile. It would make me smile more if it were anatomically correct, of course, because then I could harass my real dog with it. But it's not, so I can't. You can't have everything, I suppose.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to my, erm, 'thinking chair'. If you've seen Blue's Clues, then you'll know the type of thing I'm talking about. Except mine's a little different. It doesn't have the big armrests, and it's not all that well padded, either. And instead of a Notebook, it comes supplied with a Handy-Dandy Roll of Paper. And the only mystery I'm likely to ponder while sitting is what the hell I could have had for lunch yesterday. I just hope it didn't have paprika in it, whatever it was. Woof!

P.S. In researching this post (no, as much as it seems so, I don't pull absolutely everything that I write entirely out of my ass), I found that Steve has actually left the program! Horrors! (Or, for those of you outside the U.S.: 'the programme! Horrours!' I aims to please.)

So, the new guy is named Joe on the show. I don't know his real name, but I have a sneaking suspicion what it might be. (And no, it's not 'Fred'. Though it might be. Who's to say?) Anyway, I feel like this is the end of an era. I can't imagine anyone being as good as Steve on this show. Who else could be so kind and happy-go-lucky, and yet so utterly clueless and confused? Jenny McCarthy, maybe? Dan Quayle? I don't know. But I don't think it's this 'Joe' character. This is horrible. I'm goin' back to bed. G'night.

P.P.S. On a completely unrelated note, the HaloScan comment system seems to have been snookered for the past day or so. It looks like it'll be back up as soon as the DNS servers find their new machine, but I'm not holding my breath. (On the thinking chair, I might hold my breath. Here, no.) So save up all of those juicy, adoring comments that you know you want to write, and check in a bit later to see if the system's back up. If it doesn't come back by tomorrow morning, I'll probably switch to a different software package (again), and lose all four messages that you've sent. *sniff* I hope it doesn't come to that. I just couldn't bear it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003
I Got the Hell Out of Bed This Morning for This?!

Where we believe that no good tangent should go unpublished.

Well, this never goes well, but...

I don't really have a topic today. I tried to think of something particularly juicy for you folks, but there's really nothing much going on here today. Except the weather, maybe, if you can call drippy, soaked, and unnaturally sticky 'juicy'. I mean, I know that porno directors can, but I'm not sure whether you can. Maybe you can; I don't know. That's all I'm saying.

So, anyway, my life was rather mundane today, in a time-slows-to-a-frickin'-crawl kind of way. I did some laundry. I poked around on the computer. An electrician came by to look at some work we might have done. Ho-diddly-hum. This is not your father's High Life, boys and girls. About the most exciting thing I did today was to check, for the very firstest time, what the TiVo had taped for us overnight.

On the other hand, what it had taped were four exercise shows for my wife and an episode of the Simpsons that I'd already seen. So even that was kind of a downer. (Which is not to say that I didn't watch the Simpsons episode, of course. You can never get enough of that shit.) And I fiddled with my new toy TiVo some more, and should soon have all sorts of goodness, both animated (Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, Powerpuff Girls... no, really, it's cool. Fine, you want something manlier? How about the new Ren and Stimpy on SpikeTV? Good enough fer ya, Mr. Spootypants?) and otherwise (Comedy Central Presents, Faking It, Comic Remix, Third Rock from the Sun, Drew Carey, and more).

Yes, folks, it's all about the hilarity here at Chez Charlie.

Well, hilarity and a muscle-bound steroid monkey fondling two scantily-clad boob models in the name of fitness, if the overnight tapings are any indication. Man, pimply pubescent teenage boys never had it so good. There's pictures of hot naked chicks slathered all over the 'net, eighty-three movie channels pumping out 'brief nudity' faster than you can slam your thumb on the pause button, and the 'exercise' shows these days? Soft frickin' porn. That's all they are. They're skin flicks, with better plots and (marginally) fewer money shots. Man, where the hell was this shit when I was sixteen? We had Richard 'I've Got Kneepads and I Know How to Use Them' Simmons leading wrinkly old people through the motions when I was growing up. Where's the love in that? If I wanted some action, I had to do that cross-eyes stereogram stare at the scrambled Playboy channel, and just pray that I could catch sight of a grainy, distorted nipple before my dad came in to watch golf, or Hart to Hart. (Okay, my dad was actually more of a Columbo fan. I'm trying to spice the post up a little, all right?)

So, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah, the TiVo. As usual.

Despite my disappointment this morning -- it was like waking up on Christmas and getting socks from every damned loser in your family, by the way... just so we understand each other here -- my new little friend has already enriched my life. It found me a showing of one of my favorite movies, The Fifth Element. Well, actually, it found me three showings, but mercifully didn't tape them all. On the other hand, I caught parts of all three showings -- did I mention that there was precious little to do around here today? Or at least, that I got precious little done? I did? Good.

So, anyway, the movie's a few years old, so I won't bore you with describing it or reviewing it or talking about the dental floss that they made Milla Jovovich wear through most of the film. (I may think about it, just a little, while I write, but I won't actually mention it again, 'k? Mmmmm... dental floss...)

Um, moving on -- I presume that if you were ever interested in seeing the movie, then you've already done so. I was so inclined myself, and I've seen it more than a couple of times. It's a big HBO favorite, apparently. But if I'm not going to bore you with details of the movie, then what, pray tell, am I going to bore you with? Well, I'm glad you asked.

You see, there's just one thing that bugs me about The Fifth Element, and I can't seem to get over it. I hate to be picky about movies, but it seems to have crept into my brain in my old age. (I fully expect to get the hair-growing-out-of-the-ears thing soon; I think that's the next step.) Anyway, I just can't seem to enjoy a movie if there's any logical flaw or glaring issue of any kind. I'll give you a recent example: Minority Report.

Okay, so I should mention that I don't actually go to a lot of movies. You know, out there, in the theater. Something about I'm not supposed to mingle with 'normal' people, and my face scaring children away. Or something. Who the hell knows? Anyway, I don't end up going to the theater very often. So when I say that Minority Report is a 'recent example', I really mean it. I saw it last week for the first time. So if it was made before you were friggin' born, just bear with me, all right? I'm doin' the best I can over here.

So, anyway, to make a short example nearly infinitely longer, I saw the movie. And, as with the other one, it was on HBO. I'm like a freakin' HBO commercial tonight. I should get a guest spot on the Sopranos for this. I'll be Charlie Bag o' Donuts. It'll be fun. No, really. I could get caught in a crossfire and hurl myself through a plate-glass window to die. It'll be neat. All the cool kids are doing it.

All right, let's try that again... Minority Report. Watched it. Thought I enjoyed it. Thought. For about an hour, when it hit me -- 'Hey, that chick he was dragging around with him for the last half hour of the movie was in that wading pool thingy for, like, seven years. And then she's walking within a few minutes of being out?'

As the ancient Sumerians were fond of saying, 'Phhhfffttt.' I don't think so. I'm willing to give in on all the futuristical-type mumbo-jumbo -- the precogs, and the highways fashioned after Slip 'N' Slides, and the outpatient backroom eye transplants, and all of that. Fine. You can have all of that. Just give me some reason -- some miracle injection or 25th century magic potion, I don't care -- as to why, and even better, how, this chick could even hold her head upright after all that time, much less cavort around trying to solve a mystery. Really, please. I'm begging you. Give me something to work with, because the movie's just ruined to me without it.

There are plenty of other examples of sloppy, shoddy screenplay out there. Otherwise perfectly good, entertaining films with that one damned loose end or physical impossibility that needles you like a poke in the ribs until you never, ever want to see the movie ever again. Or at least the offending scene. You want more? Oh, I'll give you more:

Die Hard: I like this movie, actually. I think it's one of those cases where the original is still the best, though the sequels haven't been quite as coma-inducingly awful as with something like, say, Fletch. Or Caddyshack. But that's going even further back in time, so I'll stick to this example for now. (Don't want any of you young whippersnappers to wander off in the middle of a rant, now, do I?)

Anyway, the biggest problem I had with Die Hard was not the hero's series of narrow but oh-so-unlikely escapes. No, I'm down with that. It's an action movie; of course he's going to get away and save the day. But right at the very end, with a cadre of trigger-happy cops standing around all jittery after hours of bullets and explosions and fire and every damned thing but locusts raining down on their heads, do you really think that limo is just going to careen out of the parking garage and get all the way to Bruce, so he can say, 'It's okay. He's with me.'? Really, now, tell me. Don't hold back. They've gotten all worked up because the Twinkie Man just killed a terrorist-in-disguise, and then they're gonna let a tinted-windowed limo cruise on out of there? Um, no. That car would be holier than Pope Peter the Particularly Pious before it got up the ramp. Think about it.

Major League: Great movie. (And another series of shitty, shitty sequels. How the hell does that happen?)

I'm a huge baseball fan, and a comedy buff, so I love this movie. Well... almost. Two of the most climactic scenes are ruined for me, because they don't make any damned sense, when they so easily could have. First, when Cerrano hits his big home run after Jobu fails him, he carries hit bat with him around the bases. No doubt the decision was made based on its cinematic flair, but it's completely against the rules. He'd have been called out before he stepped on first base. Couldn't he have just dropped the bat and showboated around the bases like an oversized Carribbean Deion Sanders? Wouldn't that have been enough, folks?

Secondly, on the last play at the end of the movie, Willie Mays Hayes takes off from second with the pitch, and scores on Taylor's bunt. That's fine -- it's a great, gutsy play that no real manager would have the balls to call, but fine -- I'm willing to roll with it. But the thing is, the play was called on the pitch before, when Jake gets brushed back and knocked down in the batters' box. Now, if we're to believe that the same play was on -- and it was, from everything you see onscreen -- then Hayes should have been off like a shot on that pitch, too. Except he wasn't. And it just doesn't make any damned sense. Bah.

There are dozens more, but I'm getting sleepy. (How's that for truth in journalism, kiddies?) There's always something, or so it seems, that pops up to ruin an otherwise entertaining experience. Like a zit on prom night, or Gilbert Gottfried on a comedy special. Maybe that's why I generally like movies where I'm asked to depend on excruciatingly little of the laws and rules in the 'real world' to still hold. Like The Matrix, or Heathers, or The Princess Bride, or -- I would have thought -- The Fifth Element. And actually, I'm fine with the plot. It ain't Shakespeare, but who am I to talk? As far as I can tell, the action makes sense for the world they came up with, so I'm happy enough there.

No, for me in this movie, it's the President that bugs the shit out of me. Look, the rest of the acting isn't perfect or anything. It's a little hammy, and sort of over-the-top, as any tongue-in-cheek action sci-fi adventure should be. But the President -- man, that guy sucked. Or he was going for some sort of wooden, emotionless, emulating-reading-from-a-cue-card angle for his character that I just didn't get. Because the scenes with him are absolutely distracting in their annoyingness. (Annoyitude? Annoyitatiousness? Whatever. You get it.) Christ, Pinocchio could have delivered those lines more believably, and I'm talking about Pinocchio before the miracle, and without Geppetto's hand up his ass to make his lips move. Truly. The guy just sucked. I can only guess that he has naked pictures of Luc Besson doing something really embarrassing, or they'd have thrown him off the set and replaced him with another actor. Or a couch, or lamppost, or something. Man, I get worked up just thinking about it. Ugh.

So, I think that's about enough. You've been a trooper; really, you have. I don't know quite what the hell got accomplished here, but all the excitement will help me sleep, I think. Maybe I'll dream of a perfect world, where movies are always exciting and innovative, with coherent plots and no loose ends. And where the lines pour forth from the players' mouths like sweet, sweet music. And then, of course, Mr. President of the Galaxy dude will show up and deadpan through some stupid monologue to ruin it. Or patients in traction will hop up from their beds and do Irish jigs and tumble cartwheels down the hallway. It's always friggin' something, people. Even in my dreams, they can't get it right. Movie-ruining bastards!

Monday, August 11, 2003
OK, So Maybe You Had to Be There...

Because brevity is the hobgoblin of little blogs.

Have you ever seen something really cool, but weren't able to show it to anyone else?

You know, something that was obviously a trick of the light, or too fleeting to share, or somehow involved your genitalia?

Well, I had one of those last night. And -- thank your lucky, lucky stars, people -- it didn't fall into the third category. So you can breathe again.

Anyway, these sorts of things happen to everyone from time to time, I suspect. Occasionally, someone with enough conviction and faith to convince themselves that it wasn't a coincidence of atmospheric conditions (or more likely, alcohol consumption) will spread the word of their transient wonder, and flocks of people will scurry forth, straining to get their own look at Elvis' head in the profile of a muffin, or the Virgin Mary outlined in soap scum on a dingy bathroom wall. Or Puppetry of the Penis.

(And don't you have to believe that thing started when some guy got drunk and did god-knows-what-unspeakable-thing to his willie, and then just had to show someone, despite the little voice of reason presumably inside his head? I mean, how else could this have come about? And can you imagine the first guy he unleashed it on?

'Dude, what the hell are you doin'? Dude, I don't wanna see that! Jesus, put that thing away before -- hey! Cooooool. How the fuck'd you do that?'

And then that guy tried it, except his attempt looked more like a squirrel than a hamburger, and the show was on. Hey, it's a living. Just please tell me that they don't pass out plastic raincoats to the first few rows of the audience, a la a Gallagher or Shamu performance, and I might consider seeing a show. Might.)

So, anyway, we've all been there. (Not to a show featuring genital origami, fool. I mean, we've all seen something that we wish we could share with others, but can't. Keep up, would you?) We've all been driving, alone in the car, and seen a double rainbow, or the single ray of sun parting the storm clouds like the hand of God, or Allah, or Buddha, or Ryan Seacrest, or whoever your personal deity-on-high happens to be these days. I think these lonely moments need a name, but I'm not sure exactly what it ought to be. 'Cool-incidences' doesn't really capture the fact that no one but you will ever see the particular event. And 'brain blips' doesn't convey how cool and breathtaking they can be. So frankly, at this late hour, I'm stumped. If you can come up with a better name, I'm all ears.

In the meantime, I'll tell you about the thing that I had last night. ('Paranormal solitare', maybe? No?) Anyway, by definition, I can't really show you what happened, so I'll just have to describe it. And keep in mind that I had just woken up from a nap and was blearily stumbling in the general direction of the bathroom when it happened. 'It' being this:

I stooped over to pet my dog, who was lying on her side. She looked up at me, in just the right way and in precisely the right light, and -- I would swear she looked just like Anubis. Yes, that's right, the ancient Egyptian god of mummification and a dozen other things, Anubis. It's never happened before, and only lasted a couple of seconds, but there my dog was, for a split second -- Anubis, just with a dog-body instead of that of a man. I swear to Horus. Dead on.

Now, if you peruse the site that I linked to above, you'll see that Basenjis are often thought to be the 'model' for the Anubis head. Apparently, they're an ancient breed, and lived in Egypt around the same time, and may have inspired the Egyptian god-makers to incorporate them into a godhead. Rather, um, literally, as it turns out. This is all well and good, I suppose. It's hard to say what these olden-day pre-Basenjis were like. I do have a friend who owns a couple of 21st century examples, though, and they seem, to the untrained eye, to be rather skittish, stubborn, and... well, yodely, if that's even a word. Because Basenjis don't bark, like normal dogs. No, they howl and whine and emit a high-pitched throaty 'guh-roooo-ahhh-rooo' that someone has rather generously labelled a 'yodel', and which the rest of humanity continues to call it for fear of freaking the little shits out.

In any case, I have to wonder a bit whether Basenjis really were the inspiration for Anubis. The qualities I've just listed don't seem at first blush to be characteristics that you'd really want in a mummification god, if you ask me. First of all, I'm convinced that their god-awful growly gargles could wake the dead, which is probably not what you'd ideally want when you're trying to suck that same dead person's brain out through their nose and wrap them in gauze. Nor what the, ah, patient would prefer, either, I have to believe. It just seems like something you'd want to be fully asleep for, as well as being dead.

(But that's just me talking, and what do I know? The closest I've had to having my brain sucked out my nose was a night at the movies with an overzealous girlfriend back in high school. I'd have probably forgotten it completely by now, but she had braces on her teeth. That's left sort of an impression that has so far defied my repeated attempts to suppress it. So far.)

So, anyway, where the hell was I? Ah, Anubis and Basenjis. Perfect.

So, apart from the horrific noise, I'm still not convinced that this is the ideal breed for overseeing mummification. As I mentioned, they're a bit flighty and can be stubborn and untrainable. In other words, Basenjis are like the Charo of the dog world. And while she might not be the very last person on my List of Cheeky Tramps Who Can Wrap Me in Bandages for All Eternity, she's certainly very, very close to the bottom. Somewhere above Elvira and the Gabor sisters, perhaps, but very near the bottom. Ugh.

Okay, so I've gotten off on a bit of a tangent here. Which is nothing new, of course, but let's reel this fish back in a bit, shall we? See, the thing is, my dog's not a Basenji. No. If you've been paying any attention at all the past few weeks, you'll already know that my dog is an American Staffordshire Terrier. In other words, a smallish Pit Bull. What's more, if you've ever seen her -- and one day I'll get around to posting pics of my pup -- then you'd also know that she is sorely lacking in the one department that would seem to be required in a good Anubis impersonator. Namely, ears.

See those big pointy things sprouting out of Anubis' head in the picture? Well, our puppy doesn't have those. See, we adopted her from the pound, and her former owners had already cropped them. Except they did a pretty horrible job, and left our dear doggy with little more than pointy triangles of fur around where her ears once grew. Oh, there's a little bit of cartilage in there somewhere, but not much. Not much at all. Poor thing looks like she's got Cheez-Its stuck to the sides of her head. Little, diagonally-cut-in-half, brown-painted Cheez-Its, two on each side. Hey, it's not much of an analogy, but it's all I've got, folks. Who's writing this damned blog, anyway?

So, I suppose the point, assuming that there ever was one, is that my dog is not going to win a Most Likely to Be Mistaken for Anubis contest any time soon. Or ever, really. And yet, that's just what happened. Well, I mean, I knew it was still her, of course, because that's pretty much where she'd been lying all night. So I didn't stumble over and say, 'Anubis? What the hell are you doing here?' or anything like that. I think that the whole body-of-a-man thing would have tipped me off, too. But still -- from the neck up, very spooky Egyptian god, ear-stubs and all. It was cool. I'm just not sure how to get it across...

I guess there's a lesson in here for all of us, which seems to be:

'Don't ever tell anyone about your cool private moment, or you'll come off sounding like a dork.'

So you should learn from my mistake. Do as I write, not as I... um, write. Okay, so never mind that advice. Just don't go trying to explain the Jesus face on your pancake to anyone, or waxing poetic about the potato chip that looked just like that dreamy hunk Justin Timberlake. If you feel tempted, just think of all the trouble and bother I went to, and where it got me -- here I am, two hours and twelve paragraphs later, and my dog still doesn't look like Anubis to you. And if I could show her to you, you'd say the same damned thing. It's hopeless.

So just keep your 'solo spectacles' to yourself. (How's that for a name? Better?) Learn to cherish them, and feel lucky that at least one person was chosen to witness the wondrous event, and that you were tagged to do it. It's special, really, and no one else needs to know. Think of each breathtaking moment as your own private memory, and revel in the magic that you've seen. ('Cause no one else is going to believe it anyway, or even likely care.) Make it your own, and remember it always; only you can preserve the event, and hold a special place for it in your heart. Oh, and hey, while you're at it, can you make those Penis Puppetry guys put some damned pants on?! Nobody wants to see that! Don't those people have grandmas to keep them from doing that shit onstage?

Sunday, August 10, 2003
That Which Does Not Kill Me Will Only Screw Up My Car and Make Me Puke, Apparently

It's the 'Good Hands' blog.

Ok, if you're paying attention here, you'll see that I'm cheating a little with the timestamp. (Somehow, I imagine that you have better things to do than track my timestamps, but I'll confess, anyway. I'd make a horrible serial criminal, I suspect.)

So, it's now just about noon on Monday, but this post will go out as having been written at twenty till midnight last night. Which is fair enough, I suppose. That's when I started writing this post, but I erased what little I could manage to put down, and saved the post as a placeholder only. I did a similar thing on Saturday night, I'm afraid, and wrote that entry on Sunday morning.

I tell you this not to give you further insight into my scheming, sometimes-lazy psyche. I can't imagine that you'd need more evidence of that after lo these many weeks. No, I mention it only as the first piece of evidence that I just had the most surreal, oddball, wacked-out weekend in recent memory. Or any memory, for that matter. I honestly can't recall a weirder two-and-a-half day period. And so, for your enjoyment and/or bewilderment, I'll tell you a few things about my experiences between the hours of about six pm on Friday evening and just before midnight on Sunday night. I call it the Sixty Hours of Unsurpassed Surreality. The events below all actually happened, though they're not necessarily in order, either chronologically or in order of importance. Enjoy, if you can.

  • Red Sox game at Fenway Park

As promised, the wife and I visited Fenway Park, for the first time since we moved to our new house. I've been to Fenway several times, so this isn't so much surreal as it is just a new experience, given the tougher commute that we faced to get there. (For all that you could ever want to know -- and much, much more -- about my thoughts on Fenway Park, see my last post, all about the subject.)

Of course, the Red Sox did lose to the lowly Baltimore Orioles, so maybe it was a bit surreal, after all. Oh, and we got the tickets for free, so the game didn't cost an arm and a leg to attend. That was spooky, too. Eerie, even.

  • Dead battery after the game

As we were walking from our car -- parked several blocks away -- to the stadium, I saw an SUV with its lights on. We'd had a freakish rain shower on the way over, and I'd turned my lights on, as well. And I suspected that, just like this poor fool, I'd neglected to turn them off. I always do that when I have my lights on in the daylight. But, as my wife also pointed out when I mentioned it to her, the car always makes a 'ding ding ding' sort of noise when this happens, and I always hear it and turn the lights off. Always.

So, since we didn't hear the noise, we assumed that I'd remembered, after all, and we went on our merry way. Of course, we were wrong. I failed me, and then the car failed us both. We waited an hour or so for AAA to come and give us a boost. I can't remember the last time that this dead battery brain fart thing happened, but I'm guessing that it was somewhere around 1998 or so. Weird.

  • Car issues, part deux

Right after we returned to the car, and I confirmed that the old girl was quite out of juice, we got back out to find a pay phone.

(Yes, we both have our own cell phones. No, neither of us bothered to carry ours to the game. And yes, that probably makes us complete morons, at least at the time. But me more so, as usual. I knew she wasn't carrying anything but her ID and a couple of twenties, so I should have thought of bringing mine. Eh.)

Anyway, as I was getting out of the car, I dropped my keys. Which rarely happens, but isn't in and of itself so odd. But they fell just right, so that the plastic part of the car key attached to my key ring would hit the ground just so, and break off, releasing the key from its shackle. Which never happens. So now, I have a key ring with a couple of assorted keys and baubles, and a loose car key. Which, of course, means that I'm destined to lose said car key sometime in the next, oh I don't know, twenty minutes or so. Bitches.

  • Sustenance, or lack thereof

In case you might be interested, here is my total solid intake between about noon on Friday and ... well, now, come to think of it, since I haven't had lunch yet:

Burger King chicken sandwich and fries, dinner at Mexican restaurant (consisting of chips, salsa, empanadas, burrito, rice, and black beans), one untoasted Pop-Tart, one small Philly cheesesteak sandwich from a Fenway vendor, one small mug of ice cream

That's one enormous meal, two small meals, and two piddly-ass snacks in seventy-two hours, if you're keeping track of such things. Which I usually don't, but it seems awfully odd. And strangely, I'm not really all that hungry now, either.

The BK meal is the real oddball in the group, too. The last time I ate at Burger King when I wasn't careening through the drive-through during some many-hour trek across the country was... um... well, I don't know when it was, actually. Back in college, maybe? Years ago, anyway.

So, how about the liquid portion of the diet, you ask? Or you don't, but you're still reading, now, aren't you? Hah! Here goes:

Two Guinness, a large Dr. Pepper, small glass of milk, three margaritas, three Sam Adams lagers, and approximately seven glasses of water.

Given the above, I'm sure I must have shed some weight over the weekend. I mean, really, very little went into me for just about three whole days. It ain't Atkins, folks, and more than about three weeks of it would probably kill you, but I bet it lightens your load over a weekend. Try it sometime, if you dare.

(Assuming you're not the eat-like-a-bird, 'no thanks, just a water and salad for me', aspiring supermodel type already. In that case, you'd probably pack on a few pounds by actually having a real meal and a couple of beers.)

  • Unfamiliar bodily functions

In the same day, I physically cried and threw up.

(I was going to write 'threw up violently', but there's no other way, then, is there? No one 'throws up daintily'. It can't be done.)

Anyway, one of those things hasn't happened in years, and the other isn't exactly a regular occurrence in my life, either. (I'll leave it up to you to decide whether you think I'm more likely to weep or lose my lunch. Choose wisely.) I won't shock or horrify you by talking about either, except to say that the two things haven't happened to me in the same day since -- well, never. Okay, that's probably not true. Probably, the two things happened on several days when I was an infant, since all they seem to do is howl and retch and poop.

(And for the record, I also pooped on the same day. So I pulled off the entire unholy trifecta. Go me!)

Anyway, I suppose you can also cross a couple of items off the food and drink lists, too, since some of each went swimming down the drain after my technicolor yawn. I can't really tell you which, exactly, though my money's on the Philly steak and ice cream, based on the time of occurrence, color, and, er, consistency. Oops -- you're shocked and horrified after all. I've said too much. Sorry about that. Moving right along, then.

  • Throbbing and pounding, but not in a good way

I had the most dreadful headache this weekend that I think I've ever endured. Now, I hate headaches, and don't get very many. But I can usually suffer through them, and manage to go through the motions of a normal day. Well, not with this one, pally. This one hit me at around eight pm, and by nine, I was in bed with the lights off, trying to squeeze the life out of my temples so they wouldn't hammer my brain quite so mercilessly. Which, for the record, failed to work more or less completely. I finally managed to nap until 9:30, and again until 10:30, and then 11:00, each time waking with the same skull-splitting, jackhammering, brain-searing hell in my head. Finally, finally, I got to sleep again, and woke up at 11:30 with a mercilessly pain-free noggin. Since it still wasn't quite my usual bedtime, I started this post, wrote a couple of lines of nonsense, and then went back to bed. No sense pressing my luck, in case that demonic head-in-a-vise bastard was still lingering around somewhere.

And that's about it. Oh, there's more, of course. There's Shakespeare in the Park and six hours of painting and oh so very much more. But I think you've heard enough about my pain and frustration and embarrassment, so I'll let you off the hook. And anyway, I feel much better now, in just about every way, so I really don't want to rehash any more of the oddball weekend than I have to. I even snuck in some lunch while I was writing this post, so hopefully things are back to 'normal', or as close as my life can expect to get. Still, I thought you might be interested, in sort of a 'look at the monkey in the cage' kind of way.

So I hope that the tales of my Bizarro World weekend have amused you to some degree. Just not so much that I'd ever be tempted to go through it again, for the sake of writing another similar post. I love you guys, I really do, but I'm not goin' through that again for nobody. You'll just have to find another monkey-man, I'm afraid. I've given you all you're gonna get from me.

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