Saturday, September 06, 2003
I Could Tell You... But Then I'd Have to Kill Myself
If you can't keep it in your pants, keep it in your blog.
Hey, all. Apologies for any troubles you might have had getting to the site earlier -- it seems that the robot secretly running the Blogger family of sites went haywire, violating its prime directive and embarking on a killing spree around the corporate offices. (Well, okay, perhaps that's exaggerating. It's an internet company, after all -- they probably run it out of the CEO's basement in the house he shares with his parents. It probably shut down for a few hours because grandma is visiting, and needed to use the washing machine. I just prefer the 'killing spree' explanation. It's more dramatic, somehow. I'm sure the Blogger kids would agree.
Anyway, I'm back, and verbose as ever, so you can rest easy. Really, put the noose down. That's right. We won't be needing that today.
But what to talk about? I don't really have a topic ready, I'm afraid, having spent all day watching college football on TV, and then working on my golf game.
(By the way, if you swing a golf club the way I do -- which is more or less totally incorrectly -- then I'd like to make a suggestion to make your practice sessions more enjoyable. Find a driving range with overhead lights, and go at night. Besides the obvious advantages -- the air is cooler, most people are out having fun at night, so there are less witnesses to your continuing incompetence -- you also can't see the ball quite as well under the artificial lights. So those haunting memories of your mishits and banana hooks burned into your memory will be softer, and fuzzier.
Plus, you can then go right out afterwards and drown those memories in beer and booze and loaded nachos. Sure, you can do the same thing on a Sunday at two in the afternoon, but you'll feel all dirty afterward, and you won't have much company. Try the same thing at nine at night, and you're just one of the gang. Now that's my kind of golfing!)
So let's see... topic, topic. Well, one thing I certainly can't write about is the still-growing TiVo fund. You long-time readers will know that I was saving up my dollar bills to buy a TiVo. But my wife saved me the trouble, and bought me one for my birthday. But I still have the cash -- nearly two hundred dollars' worth of singles, just sitting on the desk.
But I can't talk about those, like I said. Because the first thing I would tell you about them is that my wife looked at them today, and frowned, and said, 'We've really got to use those ones somehow.' And I can't tell you that, because then I'd just have to tell you how hard I had to work to not say, 'Well, then, strap on a G-string and let's get stuffin'. Standin' around talkin' about it ain't gonna get 'em creased down the middle, you know.' (Really, I think I blew a blood vessel trying to keep that in. But I did.)
So, of course I can't tell you that, because then my wife might see it, and smack me for something I actually managed not to blurt out without thinking. And I say enough stupid shit as it is, without getting caught not saying crap. So I can't talk about the money. Clearly.
Let's see -- what else can't I tell you?
I suppose I can't really say much about the article I'm going to try and write for a local free daily paper. For one thing, since the paper is 'free', the article is going to be 'gratis'. (That's Latin for 'don't cost nothin'.' I didn't have to use Latin. But I'm always trying to bring more of an air of credibility around this place, you know.) Anyway, I can't tell you about it. For one thing, I haven't started. For another, it's unsolicited, so there's a good chance it'll never come to pass. (But how many other morons in the greater Boston area are taking the time and trouble to write shit they're not gonna get paid for? Maybe my chances aren't so bad.) Also, for those of you who read along to laugh with me rather than at me, it'll be something that's posted elsewhere, but not here. So you're gonna miss it -- won't that be tragic?
(Okay, maybe not tragic, and almost certainly not tragic. 'Mildly annoying', maybe? 'Nuisance-causing'? 'Completely irrelevant'? Yeah, it's in that neighborhood somewhere.)
Anyway, it's going to be about the asteroid that was recently discovered zooming -- no, actually, I prefer 'hurtling', come to think of it -- toward the planet. Apparently, there a one-in-less-than-a-million chance that we'll have a playdate with the little beastie in eleven years or so. So, I'm going to write about how we're all screwed, and what we should get accomplished before we all dance the Meteor Mash. (Hey, this is good shit. I can use this. I should write this down somewhere... oh. Never mind.) But I don't want to tell you about it, in case I never get around to it, or it gets rejected, or whatever. I think I'd like my first tentative foray into asking other people to publish my work to be a private matter. You know, in case I get hives or wig out or sometihng. There's a good chance it's not going to be pretty, so I don't want anybody looking over my shoulder.
Hmmm... well, shit. What can I talk about, then?
It's probably best that I don't mention the dream I had last night, where some kindly old doctor lady noticed a spot on my face and immediately proclaimed it 'cancer'. It might be a mildly entertaining way to eat up some space, but I just think it would take too long to tell you that I don't actually have a spot on my face like the one in my dream, but that I do have a similar spot on my neck. Because then I'd have to go on and on about how my wife said I should have it checked out, in case it's 'cancer'.
Of course, based on how the spot looks (about a centimeter in diameter, red and not raised at all) and how long it's been there (several weeks now), she also told me that if I was going to get a hickey from someone, the least I could do is vary the spot, so she can more easily tell, and kick my ass. Yeah, she's cool like that.
And then, I'd have to say that it's not a hickey. (But thanks for asking.) And I'd tell you that I don't really think it's cancer, either, because it doesn't itch or grow or bubble or bump up or anything. It just sits there, looking red and -- nothing. But then I'd have to admit that maybe I do think it's cancer, or why else would I have such a dream? Or maybe it is cancer, and the old lady in my dream is some apparition sent to warn me.
(Though why this particular apparition would bear such a striking resemblence to Angela Lansbury is beyond me. Sure, I can understand if it had to assume a form I could wrap my mortal mind around -- but Angela Lansbury? She's not a doctor, nor does she play one on TV. She plays an annoying old know-it-all windbag. Which is like a lot of docs I've known, come to think of it -- maybe there is a connection, after all. Spooky.)
So, anyway, it's just not worth telling. It'd take way too long to explain, and then there's the very real danger that my wife would read it, and think that I'm calling her an old woman, since the lady in the dream said the same thing she did. Oh, and there's still the off-chance that this thing on my neck is some malignant hellspawn and I'll have to get it taken care of. Not something I'd want to burden you with. But maybe I should have it checked out. We'll see.
Well, dammit, folks. I'm really sorry, but I guess there's nothing that I can tell you about today. I've never been unable to come up with a post, but I guess this is your (un)lucky day. I hate to leave you with nothing, but that's way better than writing some rambly post about nothing, or telling you things that I really shouldn't. That wouldn't be fair to you. (And just might get my ass kicked.)
So, you'll just have to do without your two thousand words or so today. I'm really sorry. But think about what you'll have time to read now! That's, like, seven newspaper articles. (Or several dozen personal ads.) You can read ahead in the TV guide for three or four days -- every channel, every time slot! And the cereal boxes -- oh, the cereal boxes! You can get through the back of every box in your house, and still have words left over for the Pop-Tarts or Quaker Oats.
So, really, I guess I'm doing you a favor. (Less and less of a favor with every word, now, but still a big favor.) So go out there and read something. Put this time to good use. Because I'm not doing this again -- next time, I'll get bite the bullet and tell you all the stuff I don't think you need to know. And you don't want that, now, do you?
Friday, September 05, 2003
This Is the Dawning of the Age of Pigskin and Pork Rinds
You ask, 'How much more blog could this be?' And the answer is, 'None. None more blog.'
(Okay, at least one person has to get today's tagline. Please tell me someone still remembers that movie.)
And now for a bit of shameless self-promotion, thinly disguised as a blog update:
The 100 Things About Me are coming along nicely, if I do say so myself. (And I do. Well, obviously. I just did, didn't I?)
Anyway, I'm hitting the home stretch now, and my goal to finish a post for each of the 'things' before I pen my hundredth post here is well within reach. This is post number 94 for the 'main blog', and I'm currently up to 81 'things' posts. Only twenty more to write in the next six days or so. Hallelujah! Actually, I'm going to try to wrap it up over the weekend; frankly, I'm getting tired of talking about myself for hours at a time. (If only I were a teenaged girl!) And I don't know what I'll end up writing about after I'm done; with all that shit in the books, there's won't be much in my life that I haven't discussed already. I may have to blog someone else's life for a while.
In any case, I'll soon have finished my goal of 100 Posts About Me. (Plus one to grow on.) And that'll feel good. So check them out -- this is the last you're gonna hear about them from me until the whole thing's finished. You do want to get an early start on learning in minute detail all about me, don't you? Well, don't you?!
All right, let's move on to a real topic...
Or maybe we won't, goddamn it. I had this beautiful, eloquent, long (would you expect anything else from me?) post about football, and autumn, and the magic in the air... and stupid poopy Blogger killed it. Stupid, stupid, poopy, poopy. It's hard enough to come up with this drivel the first time; don't these goddamned people realize that?
Maybe I should have seen it coming. After all, the same thing happened earlier today. Of course, then I only lost a couple of paragraphs, but it should have put me on guard. You know, if I had a damned brain in my head. But no, I slung a couple of thousand words down, and without thinking about it clicked on 'Post'. And whooooosh, there they went. Off my screen and into the virtual shitter. Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch.
Maybe it's for the best. It was kind of an odd post. See, autumn's my favorite time of year. I get all starry-eyed and grinny-faced in the fall. (And, back in the day, pokey-pantsed. Something about getting back to campus among all the skirts and dresses and jogging bras, I suspect.) So, not surprisingly, the post that got away was a bit wishy-washy. Bubbly, even. Maybe it's for the best that no one's going to see it. And now this techno-glitch has darkened my mood considerably. So I'm pretty much back to 'normal'. Lucky you.
I can't help myself when it comes to fall, though. Just about every good thing that's ever happened to me occurred in the fall. I met my wife in the fall one year in college. By November, we were dating, and here we still are today. Come to think of it, I think I started going out with all of my girlfriends in the fall. ('All' three or so of them, that is. Yeah. I was a real live Casanova, I was.) And the sports! Oh, the sports! Football gears up in the fall. The World Series unfolds. And college basketball gets under way. What magical times these are. And hey, I was born in July. That's not the fall, of course, but if you go back nine months, then it's pretty clear that Ma and Pa were gettin' jiggy smack dab in the middle of this most wondrous of seasons. Which is... um, yeah, actually something I don't want to think about very hard at all. Ugh. Next topic.
So, anyway, fall's pretty damned cool. I don't have the energy to wax poetic about it the way I did in the other post, but trust me -- it was good. I was all about 'crisp heady breezes' and 'an air of possibility' and all that shit. Really, you should have been there. Stupid Blogger.
Hey, speaking of football, I think I just found a kindred spirit. And a local one, too, presumably. The last visitor to this site got here by Googling:
- Bars in Watertown, MA with NFL sunday ticket
I tried it myself, but didn't find anything particularly useful. Dude, if you find anything good, let me know. The Pats open up the season on Sunday, and I'm looking for a place to watch it. Oh, and if you don't find anything, you might want to try the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse over in Brookline. They've got four satellite feeds, and it's always a good place to watch a game. A word to the wise, though -- it's pretty small, so you want to get there early to get a good spot at the bar before it fills up. Let's see -- for a Sunday afternoon game, I'd try and get there around... oh. Sorry, dude, you're already late. Better luck next week.
I watched a few minutes of the game last night, but I'm sorry to admit that I couldn't stay interested. For one thing, it was Washington and the Jets. As Ned Flanders might say, 'Ho diddly. Hum diddly.' Neither team is all that exciting, and it was a low-scoring, high-snooze affair. I thought I might be able to turn to fantasy sports to get me more involved, so I checked out my matchup for this week. Nothing. Neither of us had any active players from either team, so I couldn't even watch in hopes that 'my' running back would score, or 'his' QB would go down in a quivering, rubbery heap of hurtness. Bitches. If I'd known how boring the first game of the season was going to be, I'd have activated Laveranues Coles of the 'skins, just to keep me watching.
(While I'm at it, how many rules of the English language are violated when the announcers call Laveranues Coles 'La-VER-ne-us'? Look, maybe that's how he wants people to say it. Maybe that's even what his parents intended. But look at his name. Laveranues. Say it the way the Monday Night Football crew do, and you're transposing two vowels and completely ignoring another. What is this, German? I think there's something more complicated going on there, and someone's given them license to simplify it, so they don't come off looking like brainless boobs trying to wrap their meaty mouths around the real pronunciation.
Which is fine, I suppose. But look -- if John Madden can figure out how to say 'Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila' correctly (half the time, anyway) instead of copping out with 'KGB', then you'd think he'd give Mr. Coles' moniker the old college try. Depending on how many gin and tonics he's up to at that point, anyway. Once he gets lubed up, it's probably best that he just keeps his mouth shut.)
So, I didn't watch much of the game. And, of course, since I didn't play him, Coles had a great night, catching five passes and outgaining the entire Jets receiving corps combined. *sigh* At least he didn't score a touchdown. But neither did anyone else, really. (Unless you count LaMont Jordan and Damerian McCants, that is. Who the fuck are these people? Weren't they in the 'Pips' way back when?)
I guess I'll wait until Sunday to really kick in the football season, and sit on the couch in my undies with a bag of pork rinds and a jar of black bean dip. (Two great tastes that taste great togeher -- yum!) And maybe the Monday night game this week will be better. Let's see... Tampa Bay at Philly. Yeah, I can watch that. Donovan McNabb played for my favorite college team, so I'll be interested to watch the 'Iggles' on offense, anyway. Now, if I can just pick up a Buccaneer for my fantasy team, I can watch the whole game. Otherwise, I'll use the TB possessions to run to the bathroom, and to stock up on more dip. And yes, in that order. That's not a process you want to do in reverse, folks. No telling what you'll end up with on your pork rind. Oh my.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Looks Like Somebody Out There Is 'Beer Googling' Again
Out of the frying pan, and into the blog.
I hate to devote a post entirely to searches that have led people to this site.
But frankly, I hated to do it when I wrote this post, too, and it didn't stop me then. What in our history together would make you think I've suddenly sprouted a conscience?
So, away we go. Before I get to the list of recent odd, frightening, and downright freaky searches that have accidently funneled various perverts and morons to my door, I want to mention one set of search terms that's particularly vexing.
At approximately a quarter after two this afternoon, someone clicked through to my site. Into the archives, and specifically to this page. The search that led him or her to me?
Now, I ask you this: should I be offended somehow that this is how people find my site? Or surprised in the slightest that my blog was the only site returned by Google for this search? (I tried it myself.) Or should I be pleased to have a new reader, and one who spent several minutes on the site, (presumably) merrily reading along? Or disappointed that this person apparently found the 'random asanine idiocy' he or she was looking for, and that my writing was it? Or finally, should I just be goddamned embarrassed, beacuse -- at least once -- I managed to misspell 'asinine'?
Really, when I say I have mixed feelings about this, I'm not yankin' your chain. I have no earthly idea what to think or feel right now. Color me nonplussed.
Okay. Now, on to the rest of the goodies -- as before, I'll post the search terms, and then do the very bestest I can to help out whoever used them to get here. You know, in case they come back. I'm all about the help. So here we go:
- tasticles -- It amazes me that there are only about a dozen Google hits for this. Oh, and I'm number six. Do I kick ass or what?
- jiggly jubblies -- Man, you have no idea. If I had those lyin' around, I wouldn't have time to blog. Hell, I'd probably give up sleeping.
- meanings for a itchy bottom -- Well, shit, I don't know. You been stuffin' Mexican jumping beans up there again?
- steroid body disfigurement pics -- So, do you mean bodies disfigured because of the effects of steroids? Or just poked and scarred from a bunch of steroid needles? You know, so if I run into some piccys, I'll know what to save for you.
- mary kate and ashley olsen nip slip pics -- Dude, that's sick! That's just perver -- what? They're how old now? Oh. Um, hey, dude. If you have any luck with that search, gimme a call, okay? Thanks.
- how are shih zu nose suppose to look -- Dude, what the fuck did you do to your dog's nose to mess it up so badly that you forget how it's supposed to look? Damn, dude. Oh, and learn to spell.
- testicle self mutilation -- Eek! Eek! Eek! Eek! Eek! Okay, I'm sorry. I thought that said -- Eek! Eek! Eek! Eek! Eeeeeeek!
- gary busey mug shot pic -- Hey, I think I can help this guy. I do have an old pic of Gary, and he's holding a coffee mug. Hooray! Oh, but be warned. He's naked, and I think he's peeing into the mug. Man, you do not want to give that guy tequila.
- tickled superheroine between her legs -- Wait, I don't get it. Is she tickled between her legs, or would I be tickled if I were between her legs? You're gonna have to be more specific. But if it's the Wonder Twin chick we're talkin' about, I can answer the second question. She's a hottie.
- "yes i am" krzyzewski -- Um, no, I'm not. Obviously. Oh, and gesundheit!
- Randy Moss is an angry fella -- Yes, yes he is. So what's your question, there, skippy?
- current bathing habits -- Um, mine? Well, I shower once a day, whether I need it or not. Plus, once a month, I hook the vacuum cleaner up to various orifices for that 'deep down clean inside' feeling. Um, oops. Did I share too much again?
- needledick AND slang -- As opposed to the clinical use of the term, of course. 'I'm sorry, Mrs. Watson, but your husband is in pretty bad shape. He's developed a terminal case of needledick. I'm afraid there's nothing we can do. I'm so sorry.'
Well, that takes care of the bulk of 'em, anyway. There's still a few people lookin' for naked pics of that Pam Anderson cartoon, but those requests have slowed to a moderate gush. As for the rest of you Googlers out there, I hope this has helped. Now when you try your search again, you'll at least get some advice. Not the 'disfigurement pics' or 'olsen nip slip pics' you were looking for, but at least it's something.
And if you're looking for more than that, I'm afraid you're out of luck. I seriously doubt I'll post any 'Gary Busey mug shot' photos, or info that's going to help you with your 'itchy bottom' or 'shih zu (sic) nose'. You'll just have to look elsewhere. And I'm damned sure not gonna help you with your 'testicle self mutilation'. Fuckin' a, man. What the hell have you been smoking?
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Sometimes a Rat Race Is Better Than No Race at All
Here at blog, we don't make inane rambling crap. We make inane rambling crap better.
Whee! That's my favorite tagline in a while. They were starting to get pretty weird. Not that this one's not weird, of course. But it makes me giggle. And I'll forgive a lot of oddball crap if there's some entertainment to be had. (Hmmm. That's exactly what my wife said when I asked her to marry me. Weird!)
All right, before I get started on this post, first things first. Or, well, second, anyway, now that I've commented on the tagline. Sheesh!
Anyway, before things get rolling, I want to deliver a status report on my current blog project, the 100 Things About Me, Plus One. And, for just about the only time ever, there's good news and good news. One's for you, and one's for me. I'll tell you mine first. ('Cause I'll just burst if I don't! Really! (No, not really. It's not that good.))
So, my good news is that I can't count. Yes, I know -- that doesn't seem like it would be very good news. It could well mean that my checkbook is unbalanced, or that I'm wrong about how many blessings I have, or that I actually have less nipples than I think I do. But fear not, friends -- I checked all of these things out, and there's no reason to worry. (I spent extra time on the nipple thing, just to be sure. Er, sore. Oh, no, wait. I had it right the first time. Sorry.)
Ahem. Moving right along.
In any case, this time, my lack of computational skills has been a boon. As I'm sure all of you are aware by now, I'm trying to write a post for each of my 100 things before I finish 100 posts here on the main site. And I calculated that I'd have to churn out about seven posts a day for ten days or so to make it. But at the time, I miscounted the number of blog posts written so far. I thought there were 90. But it turns out there were only 88, giving me two more days to meet my still-unreasonable, just-as-pointless goal. So, yay me! (Me fail math? That's unpossble!)
So that's my good news. This is the 92nd post, leaving me just over a week to finish up the 100 things. And that brings me to your good news. See, despite my reprieve, I've been working diligently to get the damned things finished. And I'm up to 63 at last count. (Though we've learned my counts are not to be trusted, of course. So assume it's anywhere from 55 to 70. And lean towards 55.) But if I'm right, or even close, then I'm almost two-thirds of the way there. And I've got only -- heh. only -- 38 more to write. In eight days, or die trying. Or give up -- giving up is always an option. But I'm not ready to do that yet. I think I can make it, no matter how rubbery my fingers (or my syntax) become. I'm just that committed to your entertainment. (Or I'm just that close to being committed myself. I'm not sure I can tell the difference any more.)
Anyway, check out the 100 Things page. There's already too much to read in one sitting. Don't you realize how far behind you are? Shoo!
Okay, on to the next order of business. Which, actually, is related to the previous order of business. See, I'm writing an awful lot of stuff for the 100 things, and darn it, some of it's pretty cool. Or at least, I think it is, and there's one post in particular I'd like people to see.
Not because the post is cool, necessarily -- I'll let you fine folks be the judge of that -- but I ended up talking about a cool subject that's near and dear to me: kick-ass obscure rock music, preferably from the 1980's. So, if you're interested in such things, go check out my list of cool bands no one's ever heard of, and let me know what you think. Prove me wrong -- tell me you've heard of 'em, too, and [love / hate / used to be] them. Tell me about your favorite never-quite-made-it stars. Maybe we can trade CDs; I'm always into finding new shit to listen to, especially if nobody else knows who the hell they are. (Except you, of course. You're special; don't you ever forget.) Or simply tell me I stumped you, and you don't have a clue about any of my bands. At least I'll know I'm cooler than somebody.
(Or, far more likely, just ten or twelve years older. Still, I'll take what I can get. Comments are comments, after all.)
This ends the shameless self-promotion segment of today's post. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blather, already in progress.
So, I think I'm ready for that next job now.
The days have started getting longer, and drearier, and mind-numbinger, if such a word can be invented for this unholy purpose. I suppose I'm enjoying the freedom of a more relaxed schedule -- in bed at two or later, up by eleven, and shower whenever the mood strikes -- but I think I've stretched my flexibility about as far as it can go. It's probably time to rein myself back in a bit; start sleeping during 'normal people' hours, and making myself presentable before noon on a regular basis. Honestly, one day the mailman's going to have to come to the door, and will see me, in my undies and unshaven at two in the afternoon, and just shake his head at me. I think I'd like to avoid that at all costs. Or at least at reasonably priced costs. It never hurts to be thrifty.
Meanwhile, the rest of my life will soon be morphing into normalcy, or at least familiar routines. Indoor volleyball starts up this week; for the past couple of years, I've had the schedule down, leaving work at just the right time to pick up the dog, drop her off, and make my first game. It was a bit of a hassle, but starting at the office actually helped get me in the mood to play, I think. All the rushing around to finish up and driving among the manners-impaired morons angries up the blood, you know. Gets the motor running, and the heart pumping. Now, it'll be more like waking from a coma to run a marathon. And I'm not sure that's really the sort of thing doctors would recommend. I'll have to check on that.
Also, I'm probably ready to see people again on a daily basis. Don't get me wrong -- the time off was nice. I like people and all, but really, aren't most of them better in small doses? A little bit of 'me time' alone with my thoughts is always welcome. Unless that's all I've had for six weeks, of course. Then, it feels less like a 'luxury', and more like a 'solitary confinement'. Which is just a tad different.
So, here's hopin' the phone rings this week, and not because of telemarketers, charities, or the goddamned Boston Globe. Or even relatives -- they'll just ask, 'Got a job? Got a job? Got a job?' As a matter of fact, I don't even want to hear from placement firms, unless they've got an interview scheduled and a contract in hand. I've talked to eight or more of these outfits, and so far, they've come up with bupkis. Zilch. Nada. Oh, sure, they all tell me how good I look (on paper), and how happy they are to have talked with me, and how much fun we'll have together... but then there's no follow-up. No results. No action. It's like trying to get lucky with a horny narcoleptic chick. You think things are going in a promising direction, then *wham* -- out like a light, and you're left in the cold, holding your limp, saggy... um, resume. Holding your resume. Ahem.
Anyway, I think things will move faster now. There were a couple of promising leads before the holiday weekend, and I hear that a lot of companies wait until after Labor Day to fill open positions. So maybe things are looking up, after all. On the other hand, if I'm out of a job at Thanksgiving, I'm screwed. Nobody hires between then and New Year's, and really don't gear up their searches until mid-January. That would suck. Hell, forget the money -- with all the time away from polite society, I'll be a drooly-mouthed gibbering idiot by then. (Don't say it. Just let it go. C'mon, it's too easy.)
But I'm not gonna think about that. I'm gonna think positive. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh-darn it, people read my blog! And one day soon, I'll get that day job back. Maybe not the day job -- my dream job to beat all others -- but a day job, to pay the bills and buy the food and get me beer when I need it. And hey, if I don't like it, I'll just find a different one. No biggie. Either way, I'll have plenty more blog fodder than I do now, as I deal with new friends and big scary projects and a fresh set of office morons.
That's what it's all about, folks -- bringing you (and me) a little bit of hilarity culled from the details of an everyday life. Hey, maybe I can get a job at a custard pie factory, or a Jell-o plant. I bet there's lots of hilarity flying around in those places. Ooh, or a clown college. The shit there would just about write itself! But actually, my real line of work may be best of all -- computer programmer for research and healthcare apps. Yeah? Huh? Think about it -- computer nerds and science geeks. And doctors and nurses and crazy patients, to boot! Who knows what zany slapstickery will ensue? It's always a laugh a minute around the old lab or hospital. And soon, I'll be back in the thick of it to bring you every last detail! Hold on to your hats, folks!
I can hardly wait to get started.
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Whaddaya Mean, You Can't Have a Jacuzzi So Close to the Dinner Table?
Abandon all sanity, ye who enter here!
We have this room in our new house.
Okay, so we have more than one room, of course. We're not living in a cave, or a big warehouse. Not any more, anyway. Damn those UPS security guards! The acoustics in that place were sweet!
Anyway, we've got this room, and we don't know what the hell to do with it. See, we were lucky enough to buy a nice big house. But we're not really 'big house' people. All right, maybe I belong in the 'Big House', but that's different. Creepy, and scary, and different. At least when I drop the soap around here, I know the worst I'm gonna get is the dog biting my ass. And not in that fun, spanky way, either. No matter where I put the peanut butter.
Um, moving on... I may have said too much already.
So, back to the house. As I said, it's a pretty big house. There are two full floors, plus an unfinished, but servicable, basement and a full-height attic. Full-height with loose floorboards, no walls and no insulation, perhaps, but still -- full-height. Now, if you know anything about us, you'd know that we could never normally afford a place like this anywhere near Boston. Des Moines, maybe. Tuscaloosa, perhaps. Within three states of Boston? Not likely. Somewhere, there had to be a catch, of course.
Basically, our catch is three-pronged. Which makes it more of a pitchfork than a catch, I suppose. Or maybe a trident. But I'll call it a catch, 'cause that's how I started. I wouldn't want to lose anyone with a change in nomenclature so late in the game.
So, the catches are these: first, the house is ninety-nine years old. It's in good shape for its age, but then again, so is Ted Geisel. (You know, Dr. Seuss? Children's books, the Grinch and all that? And, oh yeah, dead. But still in better shape than most ninety-nine year olds. See what I'm sayin'?)
Second, the house is on a bit of a hill. It's not Mount McKinley or anything, but there are close to forty steps leading from the street to the house. Now, I'm thirty-three. My wife is an indeterminate number of years younger. (Hint: it's somewhere between one and fifteen, but don't tell her I told you. She'd kill me.) So we're more or less able to schlub up and down the steps at will, and probably will be able to for a dozen or more years. In old fart lingo, we're still 'spry little whippersnappers'.
But do you think anyone who's forty or so would want to strap themselves in for a ride that would include that trip every day? Sure, at forty they'd be fine, and maybe even forty-five. But soon the knees go. And then the hips. And then the boobs start sagging. Oh. Sorry. I guess that's not really relevant; forget that last bit. But the legs -- now that's gonna be a problem. So, assuming we don't do any creative major landscaping to install an escalator or something, we're faced with a fairly limited resale market. Young folks, and probably with no kids, since there are a couple of places on the sides and out back where the hill gets pretty trecherous for the non-coordinated sort of folks. (I keep my wife on a tether when we're in the back yard, just in case. Oh man, now she's really gonna kill me.)
Finally, there's the neighbors. On one side, there's Marti. I've written about Marti before. He's a nice old guy. Friendly and all that, but living in a condemnable, eyesore deathtrap. He's got no intention of moving, and he's pretty spry himself, so he may be there long after we're gone. Hell, he's been there since 1948 as it is; he'll probably still be wandering around the neighborhood with the cockroaches after the bombs go off. Resilient little dude, Marti is.
On the other side, we've got a duplex. I mentioned that we're on a hill, right? Well, the duplex isn't. To build it, the hill was chopped off, and the structure sits right at street level. Which means that there's a large concrete wall, rising up to fifteen feet tall or so, holding up the part of the hill that our house is on. And the wall's on the other guy's property. And it's crumbling. He doesn't seem to be too concerned. The people that sold us the house were concerned, but not too concerned. Me, I'm fairly concerned. And my wife has nightmares about it. That's concern, folks. So we're weighing our options in that arena, and in the meantime, we try to spend as much time as we can on the other side of the house. Marti's house may be ugly and decrepit, but at least we're in no danger of toppling over onto it. Vice versa, maybe, but even that doesn't seem to be immediately imminent. But the room where I write this is beside his house, so if the words suddenly stop, you may safely infer that I didn't know what the hell I was talking about. Again.
Speaking of rooms, let's mosey back to the original subject. Now that you know how we came to afford this fabulous property, I want to bitch about one of the rooms.
(And to be fair, it is a really nice place. Don't get me wrong with all the shit above. There's not much we can do about the stairs, but the house is in fabulous shape. And we'll eventually get something negotiated with the wall, and get Marti in a home or a nice Florida apartment or something, and then we'll be just peachy. Really. We're in good shape.)
So, back to this room of ours. First, I'll tell you that we moved here from a four-room apartment. Kitchen, bedroom, guest room/office, and living room. Pretty basic stuff. No real yard, no porch to speak of, just the apartment. And we had nothing in storage, or that our parents were saving for us, or anything like that. We had four and a half rooms of furniture to our name. (Because you always accumulate more shit than you have rooms, of course. And we did have two enormous closets there to stuff our crap into. So I'll be fair and say four and a half.)
Now, this house has eight usable rooms right now. That's twice as many. (I know most of you know this, but I do have the occasional six-year-old, or Kentuckian, tuning in, so I like to spell things out for them. Thanks for your patience.) So, we had no problem filling up the kitchen, and our bedroom, and an office, and a guest room, and the living room. That's five rooms, now full with four-and-a-half rooms of shit, plus some stuff we bought when we got here. Fine. But what to do with the other three?
Well, one of them is downstairs, connected to the kitchen. It's got a chandelier and a built-in china hutch. (At least that's what my wife says it is. I'm pretty sure I could use it to display my Star Wars action figure collection, or my set of erotic shot glasses, but she says no. So china it is. What a waste.) So, obviously, this is the 'dining room'. We don't have a dining room table, but we can find one some day. So this room is covered.
Another room is upstairs, across from the guest room. We really didn't have a good purpose for this room, so we piled shit in it. Boxes, a desk, assorted crap. Eventually, we went in and looked around, and realized that most of the shit sort of went together. Our extra computer was there, and a bookshelf, and four more boxes of books, and magazines, and a reading lamp. Hey! So this became the 'library'. Eventually, we'll get a couple of overstuffed recliners, and maybe some footstools, and a crotchedy old lady to sit behind the desk and go 'Sssshhhhh!'. Not yet, but someday. So this room is covered.
That leaves the room attached to the dining room downstairs. (No, not the kitchen, chucklebutt -- the room attached to it the other way. C'mon, keep up, would ya?) It's open and airy, and faces the front of the house. It would be perfect for a living room... except that we've already got one. Currently, we've got a shelf full of pictures and knickknack crap in there, along with a ratty old magazine rack. Nothing inspiring as what the room should be, though. We've tried calling it the 'den', the 'front room', the 'annex'. Even the 'ballroom'. But none of them really fits.
So, my wife has this idea. This horrible, frightening idea. She wants to make it a 'sitting room', with couches and chairs. Nice couches and chairs, that I don't think I'd be allowed to sit on when we don't have company. Fancy-schmancy formal couches and chairs that wouldn't be couches and chairs at all. They'd be art, not to be touched (except for regular cleaning), until important visitors came over. And to that I say -- blech! Bleh, argh, yuck, and guh. And nuh-uh. You see where I'm goin' with this?
See, what I don't want is a wasted room. A space smelling of mothballs and spiderwebs that we dust off and use only for 'special occasions'. If we're gonna pay money and take the time to pick out couches, and chairs, and probably a nice rug, then I don't want to enjoy them only if we're entertaining the Norwegian royal family, all right? Is that so much to ask? Can there not be something there that makes us want to go into that room when it's just us? Something fun, or cool, or interesting. I had a 'sitting room' in my house when I was growing up, and it drove me friggin' nuts. 'Don't sit there! Don't put your feet there! Stop peeing on the coffee table!' Stupid fuckin' sitting room rules. Harrumph.
Now, to her credit, my wife is an extremely reasonable person. She saw that I was mildly distressed by her plan for the room. (Maybe she noticed the frothing and twitchng, or maybe it was the stick I kept poking her with. I'm not really sure what subtle hint she picked up on; she's very perceptive.) So we talked it over, and I told her all the stuff I've just told you. (Well, not all of it, of course. She knew all about the house already, and the old apartment, and all the furniture we had. Oh, and I left out the part where I peed on the coffee table. She doesn't really need to know about that, I'm thinking. You know, just in case I ever want to do it again.) And she said, very reasonably (and therefore exquisitely maddeningly:
Okay, honey, that's fair. So what do you want to do with the room?
Well, shit. I didn't have an answer. I don't mind having a room to sit in with company; I just wanted something that would let us use it in the meantime. But I didn't know what the hell that something was. Honestly, do I have to have all the answers? Just once, I'd like to be able to bitch and moan and stamp my little feet about a reasonable idea around here without having to come up with an equally reasonable counter-example. I mean, that's just... just... unreasonable.
So, I got nothin'. The living room's got the TV and fireplace and stereo. The office has the computers. The library has all the books. And the kitchen has the food. What the hell else is there in the world that would make me want to walk into a room and sit down? (Assuming I was allowed to sit on the couch there in the first place; I'll work on that little problem once I get this one licked. One dilemma at a time.) Honestly, I've got no answer. I simply can't imagine why I'd walk in the door and go to the right, instead of left into the living room. Well, okay, that's not entirely true; I can actually think of several things that would draw me into there, but my wife has put an additional stipulation on whatever I come up with: it has to be tasteful. Tasteful. So pinball machines and video games and inflatable dolls and a Jel-o wrestling pit are all out. (Okay, I didn't check on the dolls. I'm just inferring based on the reaction to the Jell-o thing. Still, I don't think it's got much of a chance.)
So that's where we're at. Seven rooms down, and the eighth careening toward stuffy stodgy sucky poopyness, if I can't come up with an idea that's both interesting and tasteful. And what are the chances of that? Certainly, I have my share of interesting ideas, but I haven't done 'tasteful' since the late '70's, at least. And probably not even then -- do you remember anything from the seventies that was tasteful in the least? No, me either. Big bunch of tie-dyed, shag-carpeted ugly-assed disasters, that's all I ever saw.
And I'm out of ideas for this room, too. So help me out, folks. Any ideas would help -- what would you do, if you had a room like that? Your own little twelve by fourteen foot canvas, just waiting to be transformed into an oasis of coolness and fun. But not Jell-o, apparently. I suppose you can't have it all. But send me those ideas, all right? The clock is ticking, and I desperately want to end up with a room I can use for more than peeing on the coffee table. We've got to keep it tasteful, after all.
Monday, September 01, 2003
In a State of Uncertainty (And Anticipated Bureaucracy)
An Equal Opportunity Annoyer (EOA).
I've been writing for two days straight. This whole 'get the 100 Things About Me done before 100 blog posts' is tough shit, man! I'm usin' up ideas left and right, and my typing is going all to shit. I'm making progress -- I'm up to 53 at last count, with eight days to go, but that means I still have 48 more to do in those same eight days. Plus eight 'real' posts here on the main page. Shit. Whose dumbass idea was this, anyway?
Okay, enough bitching. I need a topic for the day. A new topic, that is. I had a topic earlier, but I decided not to burden you with it. See, I'm not much on the personal attacks around here. Oh, sure, I talk about morons and stupid drivers and have probably put down most of humanity at one point or another. But those are all nameless, faceless assholes. The topic I came up with earlier was to bust a real someone's ass. Name names, and all that. Someone who really used to piss me off, and who's now closer to the public eye. And still seems to be the same smarmy dickwipe he was when I knew him, or at least knew of him and had to deal with his decisions. Fucker.
But it's not really that kind of blog. I like to keep it light, and entertaining where possible, and so I'm gonna just let this guy go. He'd never read this, anyway, and you folks don't care about him, or the new asshole I'm interested in ripping him. So I'll just take a deep breath... and move on to something else. Whew. That's better.
(Okay, that all seems pointless now. I should just erase those last couple of paragraphs, or tell you more. But I don't want to get into the whole mess, so I'll just tell you this: the dickwipe in question was the president of my college when I was there. I started thinking about him while writing this post, and describing how I'd razz him in the school paper. I got all worked up about him (again), and felt like tearing into him again. But it's not worth my time. If you're interested, though, his name is Michael Adams. He used his fundraising and schmoozing skills at my school to springboard his way to Georgia, where he's had a very checkered six year tenure. Very checkered, indeed. And now more people think he's an asshole. And irresponsible. And soulless. And take that, and that, and that! Prickwipe jackass!
Okay, now I really do feel better. Just remember, folks -- I berated him first. (Unless someone at Pepperdine beat me to him.) Now let's move on to happier pastures, shall we?)
So, what to talk about? I've got to admit, I really didn't do much at all today. This is how a holiday Monday is supposed to work -- I left the house for about three minutes today, and only because the dog looked like she was gonna explode and spew crap all over the walls. Apart from that little trek, I wrote (a lot), and watched TV, and ate, and grilled jerk chicken (hey, I left the house for that, too, technically -- go me!), ate that, and played an oddly fascinating and addictive online video game. Here, I'll give you the link... where the hell was that? Oh, right, on J's Notes. And here's the game -- Defend Your Castle. (Warning: may cause violent antisocial behavior in...um, well, just about anybody, I would think.)
Well, clearly my activities today aren't gonna give me any fodder for discussion. What else we got?
I guess I'll see tomorrow whether the state Department of Employment and Training will continue sending me my unemployment insurance pittance. A couple of weeks ago, they sent a letter saying that I needed to attend some 'career counselling' seminar, or they'd cut my benefits off. They left me a loophole, though, saying that if I was already working with another career counselor, I could work something out. So I called up the DET (and wrote about the nightmare that ensued) to find out what I needed to do. I had my counselor fax a letter to them, as ordered, and have since heard... nothing. Radio silence from our friends in the local gubment.
Which could be a good sign, but I have my doubts. I'm fully expecting to log in to claim benefits tomorrow and be summarily escorted from the web site by big burly guards with guns and radio earplugs. This tawdry 'high life' I've been living lately may come crashing to a horrible, grinding halt. Oh, the horror. However shall I survive?
(Actually, given the paltry pennies the state's willing to pony up, having the cash flow shut off really wouldn't make that big a difference. I might have to start buying store-brand orange juice again, and peanuts still in the shell, but that's about it. I shouldn't have to resort to more drastic measures, like buying mustard by the fifty-gallon drum or anything like that. Unless I want to, of course. And now that I think about it, that much mustard could really come in handy for an awful lot of things.
For one thing, I can use it to touch up the yellow paint in the living room. Ooh, and Hallowe'en is coming up -- I've always wanted to go Trick or Treating as a canary. (Of course, I've always wanted to be mustarded and feathered, too, but that's for an entirely different reason.) Hey, and if it's brown mustard, I can go as Mr. Hankey instead. 'Hiiiiii-de-hooo!' Oh, and mustard is the best for pranks. You can dab a little on your ears, like it's dripping out, and pretend you can't hear anyone. Or hold it in your hand and cough into it, then show it to people. That's always cool. But my favorite is to dump a few ounces in the toilet and 'forget' to flush. Then you just wait for the next person to come along. 'Aaughh! What the hell have you been drinkin', boy?' Yeah, that's the best. Good times, good times.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh, my disappearing benefits. Of course.
So, we'll find out tomorrow whether the man's gonna hold me down, or whether the faxed letter did the trick. I'm sure I'm screwed, though. They'll come up with some shit -- the letter wasn't signed by a notary, or sent in triplicate, or delivered in a sheepskin envelope. They're always coming up with something to beat the little guy down. I just have to hope I'm too small a fish for them to bother jerking around. Otherwise, I can kiss that $12.41 a week goodbye. *sniff* Piddly-ass government susbidy, we hardly knew ye!
Sunday, August 31, 2003
A Name, a Name, a Name for Taming the Flames
Running shit up the flagpole to see who notices the smell.
So, this grill thing is really working out. I had really wondered about it, frankly. I mean, I wanted a grill for the backyard. (What the hell else are backyards good for?) And we needed a grill, if we were going to have a sizable housewarming barbecue (which we did, with close to thirty people showing up). But was I going to be any good at it? Would I like standing there grilling, when I'm really not a big fan of cooking? And dammit, how would I look? Would I make an ass out of myself, cooking on the lower rack when 'indirect heat' is called for, or using those grabby-picky-up things when I need the prongy-poky doohickey, or the flat, shovely kind of gizmo? (Yeah, obviously I'm not gonna bring up how I sound when I grill. There's clearly no hope for me there.)
But so far, so good. Well, with respect to enjoying grilling, at least. I think I'm getting pretty good at it, and I don't remember looking like a complete ass at any time when I've been out there, and no one's called 'party foul' on me for using the wrong utensils, or dropping them on the ground. Or using them to scratch my crotch, or playfully smack the dog in the ass. (It's probably a good thing that people aren't watching too closely.)
My main concern was whether I'd like it, though. As I said, I'm not really much of a chef. Can't be bothered, for the most part. See, I'm not really a 'foodie' at heart. Food's more or less there, and I certainly like some items more than others, but I don't wake up in the morning thinking, 'Lasagna night! Oh, thank the gods it's lasagna night. Oh boy oh boy oh boy, it's lasagna day now, so lasagna night is coming right up. Be still, my widdle heart.' It's just not typically on my radar.
As a matter of fact, I have a rule about cooking. Actually, I have several rules about cooking, but most of them involve the prevention and extinquishation of various fires that I'm likely to cause, so I won't bore you with those. So, the one remaining culinary rule on my list is this:
No food -- or Zeus forbid, beverage -- should take me longer to prepare than it does to consume.
(I may have mentioned this before. Writing it here certainly seems familiar, but I don't see any reference to this rule in the past couple of weeks, so it's back in play, as far as I'm concerned. Plus, I do a lot of talking to myself, so maybe I'm just thinking of that. Who the hell knows?)
In any case, that's my rule. And I'm a quick eater, folks. I'll clean my plate, but I'm not gonna take all day doing it. So it shouldn't take me all day to make, or it's just not worth the trouble. Call it lazy, or stubborn, or bobbleheaded; I don't care. That's just how the brain cells that I have left choose to work, and there's not much I can do about it at this point. So, I don't toast my Pop-Tarts. I eat microwave dinners. I order pizza, or Chinese food. (And yes, these often take longer to get to me than they take to eat. But I'm not cooking the whole time, so it doesn't count. It's all about how long it takes me to make something. And since I can spend a good solid hour peeling a potato, or boiling pasta, my self-cooked menu is rather limited.)
But, as it turns out, grilled food is different. Now, of course, I suspected that this might be so. We males seem to have a 'grill gene' that gives us a special affinity for all things charbroiled, and the process involved in said charbroiling. But I wasn't sure I had that gene. My strong inclination is to get the cooking started and the eating finished as quickly as possible, so as to get back to whatever inane TV show or pointless video game (or yes, ridiculously long blog post) that I was working on beforehand. I feared that the grill would not change this ingrained behavior, and that we'd use it only for parties and cookoouts, watching it rust and ruin in the meantime.
Happily, nothing could be further from the truth. As soon as I saw the grill, that dormant gene kicked in, and a bulb snapped on over my head. *POP* 'Must... grill... meat. Must... marinate. Must... soak... dead... animals... in... beer... Unnnngggghh.' And there I lay, in the Grill Center at Lowe's, with visions of tenderloins dancing in my head. When I came to, I was reborn a Grill Man. I had come of age.
Y'know, come to think of it, I don't have my Grill Name yet. A few years ago, grilling on Hibachis was all the rage amongst our friends -- partly for the charcoal flavor, mostly because none of them had the money to afford anything nicer -- and we gave out Grill Names to all the flame-wrangling members of the tribe. There was 'Grill Daddy' and 'The Grillin' Fool' and 'The Grill Master'. We had a 'Grillinator', a 'Grillin' Machine', and 'Grillasaurus Rex'. Sadly, the apartment my wife and I shared had no place for a grill. So while I was steeped in the lore and the juicy flame-kissed goodness of all that is grill, I was unable to earn my Hibachi merit badge, or be awarded a Grill Name.
Now, of course, I need one. Our little wonder can do charcoal or gas, and I've been practicing the blackening arts for a while now. I 've grilled beer-soaked brats and countless burgers. I've got steak and pork tenderloin and veggie skewers under my belt. And I've mastered the overnight-marinated Jamaican jerk chicken. (And joke all you want about me jerkin' my meat, there, skippy. You'd be jerkin' yours if you tasted this chicken. This shit rocks!) I've even started to experiment with rubs and sauces and indirect heat... why, I'm a grillin' fool! (Except that name's already taken. Dammit!)
So, now my rule's out the window. I'll spend a half hour heating up the grill, or the coals, and then another half hour cooking something that I can eat in ten minutes or less. I'm finding that the key is to use the entire grill, so I don't feel so bad about it. Eight chicken breasts take only slightly longer to grill than two, and at least that way, I can envision taking an hour in total to eat them all. Plus, the eating's spread over two or three days, so it seems more worth the effort. These are the mind games I have to play with myself to get any sleep at night, folks. Welcome to my nightmare.
Anyway, I'm ready for my name, now. I'm considering a move to the Philippines, so I can become the 'Grilla of Manila'. That would make for one helluva commute for my wife to downtown Boston, though. Ooh, how 'bout something from the 'hood? I could be 'Grill Grill Cool J'. Oh, except I don't have a 'J' in my name anywhere. That would just lead to all sorts of annoying questions. Hmmm. 'Grilly Madison'? Might give the wrong impression, though it wasn't a bad movie. 'Mister Grill'? (You know, 'Mister Grill, that's my name; that name again is Mister Grill.') Okay, so the non-Simpsons fans wouldn't get that one. The Grill Name must speak to all the people. Shit. Oh, wait. 'Charcoal Charlie'! Um... nah. Sounds like some fucked-up cartoon character from the '30's or something.
Well, hell, I don't know. I'll have to give this some more thought, I suppose. Maybe something will come to me while the next batch of jerk chicken is sizzling on the grill tomorrow. (And no, I'm not gonna be the 'Grill Jerk', or the 'Jerky Griller', and especially not the 'Jerky Grill Guy Who Jerkily Jerks His Jerk Meat'. So don't even say it. But if you have any real suggestions for a Grill Name, I'd love to hear them. Or, you know, see them, anyway. So send 'em along. Maybe I'll find my Grill Name, after all.