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Where the Hell Was I?

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Charlie/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Massachusetts/Watertown, speaks English. Eye color is hazel.
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Where the Hell Was I? has moved!

Please visit my new home at:
http://www.wherethehellwasi.com

I'll be glad you did!

Saturday, October 04, 2003
 
Just Think of It as 'Blog Post Roulette'

Maybe I'm born with it; maybe it's Blog™.

Q. Can a public service announcement be self-serving?

A. You bet your ass, it can!

Think about it. You think Sally Struthers makes us suffer through those 'Feed the Children' commercials just because she's into the kids? Oh, come now. Sure, she probably cares and all, but she's also angling for a gig in some Lifetime movie. Seriously, look at her career in the last twenty years. You think she wants to keep doing shit like Marie Osmond's Merry Christmas? Please. That 'cup of coffee a day' crap is free publicity, which is the only kind she can afford these days.

Want another example? How about the Schoolhouse Rock folks? Now, you know they were all proud of themselves over those bits. They were showing off, bucking for promotions and jingle-writing spots. How else do you explain the stuff they chose to present? Conjunctions -- harrumph! Nobody has problems with conjunctions; of all the parts of speech, they might be the most used and easiest to get a handle on. We really didn't need an educational spot about conjunctions.

Ah, but it rhymed with shit, and so, that's what they used. They could get funky with conjunctions, whether anyone needed the lesson or not. Heaven forbid that they tackle 'gerunds' or 'dangling participles'. Important, sure -- but what rhymes with 'participle'? 'Hearty tipples'? 'Farty ripples'? 'Party nipples'? Clearly, we'd have had a much different Saturday morning with that sort of material.

So, why do I bring this up? Well, I have a public service announcement of my own to make. And frankly, it's even more self-serving than my examples. You see, you won't be saving any children, or building any schools, or learning how bills become law from my announcement. At best, you might get a smile out of it, or a snippet that you can use yourself. And in the process, you'll have to read a bunch of shit that I thought was clever.

(Um, at the time, anyway. The harsh light of day shines a bit unfavorably on some of these things now. You'll no doubt see what I mean.)

Anyway, here's the scoop. Things have changed a bit around here recently. Like, yesterday. And thanks to all of you -- JadedJu and Suzette in particular, so far -- who approve of the new design. So far it's three 'for' (counting moi), and zero against. Those aren't landslide numbers -- yet! -- but I'm pretty happy with the results. I think this layout's a 'keepah', as the Kennedy's would say.

But, as you may have noticed, there's no good spot for a tagline in this design. At least, not one as loooong as mine. So, I scrapped it. Easy come, easy go. Ah, but that brings up another little issue. You see, at the top of every post, just under the title, I've been including an 'alternate tagline'. I started doing this on my second (aka, next-to-first) post, and never stopped. I figured that I'd eventually get tired of my tagline and think of better ones, so why not just include them in posts? That way, I wouldn't spend all my time futzing around with one meaningless part of the site, agonizing over which one I liked the very most bestest, and I could get on with writing the damned posts.

But now, there's no tagline at all. And frankly, sometimes coming up with the alternate line for the day is the hardest fricking part of writing an entry. So, I think I'm going to retire this particular feature, and get back to simply telling stories about how stupid I and most of the people around me are. Oh, and my dog. Yeah, she's a real shit-for-brains sometimes, too. (Maybe it's contagious. Who knows?)

So. I tell you all of that, to tell you this. (This is the 'Public Service Announcement' part; hope you weren't holding your breath all this time.) Since I won't be needing a tagline again anytime soon, I'm inviting all of you to use any or all of them that you like. Use them as your own mottos, or your blog names, or just work them into posts -- whatever you want. Some of them are actually pretty good, if I do say so myself. (And some of them are pure crap that I scribbled down to get a post rolling. So sue me.) But all of them are yours now; go forth and spread the word to the six corners of the Internet. ('Cause we all know the Internet's a hexagon, right? Right?)

As a matter of fact, I'm gonna make it easy for you. (That's just the kind of stand-up, do-right, and lots of other hyphenated words, kind of guy that I am.) I'm going to repost each and every tagline I came up with -- one hundred and twenty-four in all -- right here, for you to browse and pick over, like some online trailer park yard sale. All I ask of you is this -- if you use one of these, just drop me a comment. I like to know what my babies are up to. Hell, if you even like one, let me know. Or if you have some of your own that are better. Or you just want to say hi. Anything, really. I'm a comment whore; there's no shame in that. (And if there is, I'll drink enough to drown it. Don't you worry about me.)

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, comes the self-serving part. Well, some of that is obvious: I like to think that some of these lines are pretty cool, and that I came up with a helluva lot of them. (Needlessly? Perhaps. Still, there they are. We don't mock Stonehenge just because the druids didn't know what the hell they were doing, now, do we?) And so, I'm proud to show them off all at once, in a sort of tagline tour de force. Or, um, something. That might be going a bit far, even for me.

But -- but, I say! -- the self-servitatiousness doesn't stop there! Oh, no -- not by a longshot. Because, you see, I'm also going to take the time to painstakingly link each and every tagline to the post on which it appeared. Why? I don't honestly know. It's not like you can tell anything about the post from the tagline; they're completely unrelated. If you click on any one of them, there's no telling what sort of fracas you'll end up in. Maybe something bad; maybe something good. You don't know. But it's another chance for you to make clicky-clicky on my little links, and read my shit, and that makes me feel good. (In a strangely arousing way. You cheeky little monkey, you. Rawr!)

So, give it a whirl. Feed my ego. At least this is the last time you'll have to read one of my taglines. You know, unless a really good one pops into my head. In the meantime, enjoy the show. And be glad it's not costing you even the cost of 'a cup of coffee a day' to put up with this shit. Even I have my limits.


The Gallery of Taglines, 'Where the Hell Was I?' Wing

Note: The very first post didn't actually have it's own tagline, so I've linked my original blog description to it. You wouldn't want to miss one, now, would you? The lines are listed in the order in which they appeared.

  1. Nothing but honest, heartfelt commentary on random events, most of which never actually happened. Plus some other stuff.
  2. Because a world without parentheses would make too much damn sense...
  3. Bringing ADD to new heights of... hey, what's that shiny thing over there?
  4. Could anything that involves this much drooling really be so bad?
  5. A blog? Something my body needs already! I like that...
  6. If you don't understand it, it's probably because you just don't like it.
  7. Dragging you a little closer to lunacy with each sentence read...
  8. Spanning the globe to unearth silly, ridiculous crap -- so you don't have to!
  9. More changed subjects than a schizophrenics' pep rally!
  10. A blog like dyslexic lite beer -- it tastes filling, but it's less great!
  11. If you can't find this blog in the dark, then you've got no business looking for it in the first place.
  12. Oh, yeah? Well, my blog can kick your blog's ass!
  13. First I write it on the walls in crayon; then I take my meds and type it in for you!
  14. With all these electrons whizzing around all over the place, shouldn't we have more umbrellas?
  15. Hey, I don't come up with this stuff. I just type what my dog is dictating.
  16. Putting the 'more' in sophomoric for almost ten whole days!
  17. I likes my blogs like I likes my women...
  18. Oh, it's you again. Well, try to control yourself this time, will you?
  19. Because it's the right blog to do. And a tasty way to do it!
  20. Bringing you the magical wonders of bloggery, in the comforts of your own home!
  21. No-Risk Guarantee: If You Don't Like This Blog, We'll Refund Your Eyeballs -- No Questions Asked!
  22. Bringing you the thrill of blogtory, and the blogony of defeat.
  23. A blog for all of your 2000 parts!
  24. Dude! You're gettin' a Blog!
  25. That blog you keep reading... I do not think it means what you think it means.
  26. How many blogs would a blog dog log if a blog dog did log blogs?
  27. Blog. It's what's for dinner.
  28. The blog that launched a thousand ships of fools.
  29. Fill it to the rim... with Blog™!
  30. Disclaimer: no monkeys were actually harmed in the making of this blog.
  31. All your blog are belong to us!
  32. You must be at least this tall to read this blog.
  33. 'We'll leave the blog on for ya.'
  34. Blogging's just like riding a bicycle... your legs are gonna get sore, and you should really wear a helmet.
  35. If you only read one blog this year... dude, frickin' read faster!
  36. This product may impair your ability to operate heavy machinery. Please blog responsibly.
  37. Blog -- the choice of a new generation.
  38. It's not the blog that gets you. It's the humidity.
  39. Hey, if at least ten people read this, I get to count it as community service!
  40. If it weren't for blog posts, I'd have no posts at all.
  41. As you go through life / two rules should never bend / never blog about yourself / or pee into the wind.
  42. I may not know much, but I know what I blog.
  43. This here is my blog. Is it not nifty? Worship the blog.
  44. In blog, no one can hear you scream.
  45. You can blog me a little now, or you can blog me a lot later.
  46. Blog™ -- a little dab'll do ya.
  47. I'm bloggin'... yes indeedy, I'm bloggin'...
  48. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your blog.
  49. More inane drivel than you can shake a stick at!
  50. Baby, once you've had blog, you never go back.
  51. I blog, therefore I am.
  52. Because if I tried to keep all this in my head, it'd leak out my ears.
  53. A blog a day keeps the dickheads away.
  54. You can be a fly on my wall if you want, but you'll have to take a number.
  55. One o' these days, Blog -- pow! Right in the kisser!
  56. New and improved Blog™ -- now with 58% more blather!
  57. Here we go, bloggers, here we go!
  58. De Doo Doo Doo De Blog Blog Blog.
  59. Mister Blog, that's my name; that name again is Mister Blog!
  60. Some people call this a sling blog. But I calls it a Kaiser blog. Mmm-hmm.
  61. Boldly going where no blog has gone before.
  62. Hell hath no fury like a blog scorned.
  63. Take me out to the blog game; take me out with the clowns!
  64. Blog™ -- for when you have that 'not so fresh' feeling.
  65. If you read it more than twice, you're just playing with it.
  66. When a blogger meets a blogger, comin' through the rye.
  67. If at first you don't succeed, blog, blog again.
  68. Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of blog...
  69. It's the 'Good Hands' blog.
  70. Because brevity is the hobgoblin of little blogs.
  71. Where we believe that no good tangent should go unpublished.
  72. It's my blog / It never slogs / It makes me want to snog a hog / Read it up; it's like brain nog / Blog!
  73. Worth every penny you're not spending to read it.
  74. This blog is ribbed, for your comfort and her pleasure. And vice versa, if you're into that sort of thing.
  75. I scream, you scream, we all scream for blog. Um, cream. Blog cream. Whatever that is.
  76. It's the blog of the world as we know it... and I feel fine.
  77. Please keep hands and feet inside the blog at all times during the ride.
  78. Always bet on blog.
  79. All the crap that's fit to blog.
  80. It's not what you know that counts. It's what you blog.
  81. For when you care enough to blog the very best.
  82. 100% natural blog from concentrate. Now available with extra pulp!
  83. Where the trains of thought have no brakes, and the engineers are asleep on the job.
  84. WARNING: Keep away from eyes and mouth. If ingested, induce vomiting immediately.
  85. To err is human; to err online in front of the whole world, divine.
  86. It's one small step for man; one giant blog for drooling lunatics everywhere!
  87. It ain't easy being blog.
  88. In the event of a water landing, this blog may be used as a flotation device.
  89. Running shit up the flagpole to see who notices the smell.
  90. An Equal Opportunity Annoyer (EOA).
  91. Abandon all sanity, ye who enter here!
  92. Here at blog, we don't make inane rambling crap. We make inane rambling crap better.
  93. Out of the frying pan, and into the blog.
  94. You ask, 'How much more blog could this be?' And the answer is, 'None. None more blog.'
  95. If you can't keep it in your pants, keep it in your blog.
  96. The audience is slobbering.
  97. You won't pay a lot... but you'll read a lot.
  98. And this is your brain on beer and habanero peppers. Stay clean, kids.
  99. Melts in your mind, not in your eyes.
  100. Got blog?
  101. It's 'Chcken Soup' for those voices in your head.
  102. Silly rabbit... coherence is for kids.
  103. It's not completely random. Just think of it as 'topic kebabs'.
  104. Apparently my insolence will be tolerated.
  105. It's my blog. I'll cry if I want to. You would cry too, if I blogged about you.
  106. Okay, I think I've got 'quantity' down pat. What was the other thing again?
  107. Live in your blog. Play in ours.
  108. It's where the freaks who come out at night spend their afternoons.
  109. It's a little like taking the blue pill and the red pill, and chasing them with Windex.
  110. Get thee behind me, sanity!
  111. Baring my soul... because baring the good stuff would get me thrown in jail.
  112. Three sheets to the wind, and seriously considering a fourth.
  113. The secret ingredient is bile.
  114. If you're not part of the solution, then you'll probably like it around here.
  115. Readers check in... but they don't check out.
  116. Blogging for those who can't blog themselves... and probably shouldn't in the first place.
  117. Fly the friendly blog.
  118. Unsane at any speed.
  119. It takes a village idiot to raise a blog.
  120. Only the good blog young. And I'm no spring chicken, dammit!
  121. Shouldn't at least one of us know better by now?
  122. At the sound of Tinkerbell hysterically screaming, you should turn the page.
  123. Plus le change, plus le meme blog.
  124. Maybe I'm born with it; maybe it's Blog™.

So there you have it -- the Story So Far, tagline style. The rest of this blog will be brought to you tagline-free. (Until I redesign the whole thing again, and find room for it again. Keep your fingers crossed that it never happens.)

(Just for the record, my top ten personal favorites are:
'A blog for all of your 2000 parts!'
'Because brevity is the hobgoblin of little blogs.'
'All the crap that's fit to blog.'
'An Equal Opportunity Annoyer (EOA)'
'The audience is slobbering.'
'Silly rabbit -- coherence is for kids.'
'Apparently, my insolence will be tolerated.'
'Live in your blog. Play in ours.'
'Get thee behind me, sanity!'
'Unsane at any speed.'

I can't help it if most of the rest of them are crap. This shit ain't easy, you know!)




Friday, October 03, 2003
 
Rose-Colored, These Bastards Are Not!

Plus le change, plus le meme blog.

Hey, everybody.

You returning visitors may notice just the teensiest of changes in the layout; I hope you like it, and that nothing's broken. I'm afraid my desire not to look just like everybody else finally overwhelmed my natural instinct to do as little as possible when it comes to cosmetics. (Or cosmology, but that's a different story.) And so, there's a new look around here. Please, let me know what you think. How does this change make you feel?

And for those of you who are stopping by for the first time -- well, maybe you'll notice that things aren't quite as ugly or as boring as they could be. Or maybe you won't; who knows? If you're just getting here now, then you're awfully late to the party, aren't you? What, did your car break down? (Pssst! If you really want to check out the old layout, though, try some of the 100 Posts About Me. It'll probably be quite a while before I get around to bringing them into line. Witness the conformity for yourself.)

Anyway, party down. I'm still tryin' to figure out what the hell to put in the little light blue boxes in the top corners. If anyone's got any ideas, I'd love to hear 'em. I've done way too much thinking about how to make this site 'real purdy' today already. Somebody else can take the damned reins for a while.

So, on to today's bucket o' words. Today got off to a rather inauspicious start. For one thing, I had to get up early (for me, which in this case means by about nine o'clock; eat your hearts out, nine-to-fivers). But at least it wasn't genuinely early, so I was able to shake off the cobwebs and get down to the business of showering.

(If you happen to be interested, the shower was just fine. Plenty of hot water, clean towels, and no 'surprises' of any kind. Nothing got dropped, and nobody slipped on anything. I had no substances either unexpectedly go into or suddenly come out of any orifice. So all-in-all, I'd call it a rousing success. I don't know how clean I got, and I may have left a Q-tip in my ear while shining up afterwards, but the shower itself was just peachy. And thanks for asking.

Now, if I could just find that damned Q-tip, maybe I could hear out of my left ear again...)

My real problems began when I tried to put in my contact lenses. Usually, this is pretty much a no-brainer for me. (Which is good, because before about eleven am, I'm pretty much a no-brainer, if you smell what I'm slingin'.) I've worn contacts for years and years, and I've got the routine pretty much down. Easy in, easy out. I've had nights when I couldn't remember how the hell I got into bed, and yet I'd find my contacts the next day, swimming in solution in their little carrying case. I'm fully on autopilot with these things now.

Ah, but that's with my old contact lenses, then, isn't it? (Yes. Yes, it is.) If you read yesterday's post, then you know that I lost one of my old contacts, and had to visit an optometrist to get a new one. And you'd also be aware that my old lenses are gas-permeables, from the dark old ages, rather than the floppy, wispy soft lenses all the kids are wearing these days.

So, my job this morning was to get a 'hard' lens into my left eye, and a 'soft' lens into my right eye. The former, I've done approximately seventeen million times. It's like breathing now; it's practically a reflex. The latter, I've performed exactly once, in the LensCrafters store yesterday, and only on my eighth or ninth attempt. Clearly, this little dance had all the makings of an unmitigated disaster. And, right on cue, that's what I got.

Keep in mind that I had an appointment to make. I got up at nine; I had to be across town for a meeting at ten-thirty. And between my showering and blogging and playing karaoke singalong with Mr. Rubber Ducky in the bathroom mirror, it was about a quarter till ten when I started working on popping my contacts in.

(You know, speaking of Mr. Ducky, I've always been bothered that the one song we can't play singalong together with is 'Rubber Ducky'. You know, the one Ernie from Sesame Street used to sing.

And why can't we sing that together? Well, because I don't know the damned words. See, I often -- no, really, often, folks -- get my wires crossed. My zigs zagged. My beans above my frank, if you know what I'm saying. I'm always starting off on one thread or thought, and bunny-hopping to another, sometimes without realizing what the hell I'm doing.

Why am I telling you this, anyway? You -- of all people -- know about my wretched affliction. Enough explanation.

Anyway, one of the longest-running examples of this disease is the 'Rubber Ducky' song. I get just a few lines into it, and in my head it morphs into something else entirely. I haven't known the real words for years, because I can't get past doing this when I try to sing the damned thing:

'Rubber ducky, you're the one. (quack, quack)
Rubber ducky, so much fun. (quack, quack)
Rubber ducky...
Far and wide...
Ducky, I love ya, but gimme that countryside!
'

Yes, that's right. My 'Rubber Ducky' song has been friggin' hijacked by the theme from Green Acres. This may be the most embarrassing thing I've ever written about. Oh, the shame.

'Doo-do-de-doo-doo! Mind gone!
Doo-do-de-doo-doo! Mo-ron!
'

And people wonder why I lie awake in bed at night...)

Okay, where the hell was I, anyway? Ah, the contact lenses. Right.

I don't know whether you're familiar with how contacts work, or how different the hard and soft lenses are. So, I'll tell you. The hard contacts are wee little things. They only fit over part of the colored part of the eye, and they're fairly rigid. Think of them as thin pieces of plastic. (Which is what they are, so I'm sure they won't mind.)

Now, the soft contacts are just that -- soft and saggy, like a grandma's ass. Perhaps not coincidentally, they're also much bigger. These guys cover the entire colored part of the eye, and a bit of the white area, as well. They're at least twice the diameter of the hard lenses. You can think of soft contacts as big pieces of wet paper that have to be glommed onto the eyeball.

So, here I am, experienced and comfortable with plopping a tiny speck of rigid plastic into my eye. And suddenly, I'm being asked to maneuver this big clear doily onto the entire surface of one of my eyeballs. I probably don't have to tell you that this didn't go well. But I will, anyway -- this didn't go well.

The biggest problem was opening my eye wide enough to clear up space for the goddamned thing. It's like shoving a freaking frisbee in your eye. But I finally worked out a method to hold the top and bottom lids with each hand, so I could properly access my right eye. And several inches of brain behind it, I think, but I left that shit alone. I got enough troubles as it is.

My next little conundrum was that if I was using all my fingers to yank my eyelids away from the places where they frigging belong, then I had no digits left with which to plop this coffee saucer of a lens onto the eyeball. I considered a couple of alternatives -- using my big toe to place the lens in my eye, or sticking the contact on the bathroom mirror and just running my eye into it -- but finally concocted a way to both completely expose my eyeball and have a finger free to jam into it. Fine.

The first three actual attempts to put the contact lens into my eye were met with your basic, garden-variety failure. The damned thing would get caught on an eyelid, or fold up on itself, and pretty much screw the pooch before things really got started. But I was learning some tricks, and was just about to get it right. I could just tell.

So of course, the fourth attempt simply sucked ass. Not only did I fail to get the mother-bitching thing in my eye, but it fell out of my hand, and onto the sink. Um, somewhere. But damned if I could find the frigging thing. I searched the sink basin. Nothing. The outer perimeter. Zilch. I got down on hands and knees and checked the floor all around. Nada.

(Well, not completely nada, I suppose. I was still naked at the time, and apparently, getting down on all fours is dog-speak for 'Hey, get over here and sniff my ass, bitch!' So what I did get is a cold, wet nose halfway up my hoohah. What I did not get, however, was the fucking contact lens. Contact? Oh, yes, there was contact. Contact lens? No. Be careful what you wish for.)

So, by then, it was pushing ten o'clock. I wasn't quite hopelessly late yet, but I was pushing it. And there was no way I could get to the place and get through a meeting with one eye. My eyesight's just too bad to fake it. So, I did what any red-blooded American man would do in that situation. I cursed like a goddamned sailor. I bitched, and I moaned, and I whined, all of it profanity-laced and louder than the last. All the while, I scanned the sink and the floor, not really expecting to find the damned thing that I'm pelting with F-bombs and epithets.

(Really, folks, I was in the zone this morning. I was stringing shit together, making up words that didn't even make sense. What's a 'shitpricking asscap', anyway? I don't know; just made it up. A 'mother-licking fuck-a-bundle'? No idea. 'Hose-shittin' bitchapotamus'? Couldn't tell you. But I said it. Ask the dog; she knows.)

I went on and on that way for five full minutes or more. Finally, I was running out of steam -- and words -- when I saw the stupid thing. Somehow, it had landed on the back of the sink, and was half-propped behind some eyebrow pencil doohickey of my wife's. So, I retrieved the damned thing, wet it, and tried again. And dropped it again, and didn't see it again, and lost the damned thing again. Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch!!!

Luckily, I started my search this time at the back of the friggin' sink, and worked my way forward. The lens was sitting, perfectly balanced, on the faucet overhanging the sink. I'm surprised I even saw it, as unlikely a perch as it was. But I did, and finally -- finally got the damned thing to suction onto my freaking eye and stay there.

So, in the end, I guess it worked out. I rushed out the door, made my appointment just on time, and haven't had any trouble since. But I'm not looking forward to taking this bitch out tonight.

(That's a whole other ordeal, where I squeeze the thing between thumb and finger, so it wrinkles up and comes off. I'm convinced that if I use just a little too much pressure, I'm going to shoot my eyeball across the room like a marble and splat it against the far wall. Probably with the demonspawn lens still on it, too. Friggin' nightmare.)

Hopefully, though, a little practice will make perfect. Or at least better. My new lenses won't come in for almost a week, so I've got to deal with this Baggie on my eye for a few more days. Oh, and I've got meetings before ten am on the first three days of the week, starting with an eight-freakin'-thirty appointment on Monday morning. I may have to pull an all-nighter just to make that thing, and start pawing at my eye at four am to get this stupid contact lens in there

Man, will I be glad when I have my razor-sharp little pieces of plastic back. Sure, they may be dangerous, but I can't remember the last time I had to make up new words because of them. This soft 'dinglybitchenfucker' is for the birds!




Thursday, October 02, 2003
 
Adventures With Naked Eyeballs, Part Two

At the sound of Tinkerbell hysterically screaming, you should turn the page.

Hey, boys and girls. Welsome to the latest installment of Daily Crap I Come Up With, Often in the Shower. Just be glad that I only subject you to some of the shit I discover in there. A weaker man would weep or flee, you know, but I carry on. And I do it for you. No, really, you can thank me later. Really.

Anyway, I'm afraid that I don't have a lot for you tonight. Oh, I've got some things that I could write about -- don't you worry, there, Skippy, I'm not running out of material any time soon -- but I'm having a bit of a hard time seeing what I'm writing, so I don't know how long I'll keep it up tonight. (The writing, the writing... man, you people are gross.)

You see, last night I washed a contact lens down the sink. Not on purpose, mind you. It was quite the unintended accident, in fact. (I'm sure that having just returned from a 'Johnnie Walker Journey of Taste' event had nothing to do with this. Hell, I couldn't see when I had my contacts in last night; no wonder I fumbled one down the drain.)

In any case, I've got some problems. You'd think I'd have gotten off my ass and gone to get new lenses after the last time this happened. That turned out to be a false alarm, as I eventually found the 'lost' lens. But still, you'd have to believe that it would shake me up and get me moving to prevent a more serious problem, now, wouldn't you?

What, you would? Damn. Have I taught you people nothing in all these long months together?

Look, I'm a lazy bastard. I don't know what else to tell you; there's really no excuse. And certainly, nearly losing a contact lens did force me to make some changes. Why, almost every day since then, I would think, 'Hey, you know, it might be a good idea to go to an optometrist... ... ... ... tomorrow.' That's a start, right? Apparently, no. Who knew that actual action was required to get something done? Somebody stop the presses.

So, you can imagine my chagrin when my right contact slipped off my finger and into the running water in the sink last night.

(But 'Oho!', you might say. You know, if you're the type of person who wants a kick in the privates for going around using words that haven't been in play since Elizabethan times. But let's just go with it, shall we?

'Oho', I hear you saying. 'Oho! It's okay for the contact to fall in the sink, because surely you've pulled the plunger and sealed the drain with that little metal lever doodad. You did that, right?'

And, well, yes, in a manner of speaking, I did. Of course, in another, very different manner of speaking, I noticed weeks ago that the plunger didn't pull the drain stopper all the way down, leaving an eighth of an inch or so gap under which water could freely flow. And, as it turns out, a contact lens. I had really been meaning to fix that damned thing, too. I was sure I'd get to it... ... ... ... tomorrow. Are you sensing a pattern here?)

So, I woke up this morning and put in my one lens and tried to get along as best I could without any shred of depth perception whatsoever. Brushing my teeth was an adventure, let me tell you. I now have the minty-freshest nose hairs on my block. (Or so I assume; it's not like I went up and down the street to check, for Chrissakes. Even unemployed, I don't have that kind of time, you know.) I won't even go into the problems I had picking up the dog's poop during our walk. Trust me, you're better off not knowing, okay?

But of course, the hardest task I faced was driving to LensCrafters to (finally) look into -- or at least squint in the general direction of -- a new pair of contacts. And yes, I drove, despite my best judgement. My only other option was to take a bus that I've never taken before to a train to another train. You can see how dangerous that could become for a man of limited vision, I hope. The things I could have sat in, or stepped in, or ended up talking to -- I can't bear to even think about it. Better that I should risk my life and others trying to pilot my car crosstown in the midst of lunch traffic. Oh yes, folks, I make good decisions. Only the best for me, baby.

Anyway, I did eventually show up at the local LensCrafters establishment. And I made it in one piece, too, thank you very little. I suppose I do get marks off for parking in the Burger King drivethrough, and for chatting with a mailbox for ten minutes before realizing it wasn't a short fat mute guy in a blue suit, after all. (Hey, how the hell was I to know? It's an honest mistake.) But I got there, and had my eye exam, and ordered contact lenses all in the same day. They even gave me a nifty new replacement lens, so I could get home without fear of committing accidental vehicular homocide. Which is a good thing; when I smear some dickhead all over my windshield at forty miles an hour, I want to mean it, dammit! I wanna stick my premeditated foot all up in their ass. Hell, yeah!

In any event, I can sort of see now. But it's not perfect, by any means. For one thing, the replacement lens is a soft contact, while my old one in the other eye is 'gas permeable'. For those of you under the age of thirty or so, these 'gas-perms' used to be the only thing we astigmatism sufferers could wear. I got into 'em, and I never bothered to drag myself screaming into the '90's and move on to soft lenses. Now I think I'm the only goon left toting these little pieces of glass around in my eyes, so they didn't have any replacements on hand for me to take. Just the softies, which take a little getting used to. Plus, the prescription on the soft lens isn't quite right, so I'm still pretty fuzzy around the edges. (Which is always true, of course, but now everything else is fuzzy, too, so I fit right in. Sweet! Now I just need to fuck up everybody's vision, and I'll be golden.)

What I'm trying to say is that writing tonight is a bit rough. I'm not really used to my new lens yet, and it's not quite what I need. Meanwhile, my old lens in the other eye is about three prescriptions too old, so it's not doing me a helluva lot of good, either. I can more or less make out what I'm typing, but it's all pretty blurry unless I blink a lot. On the other hand, it doesn't seem to make any less sense than usual, even with the fuzzyness. So that's good, I guess. (Or it's constantly really, really bad. No, really, I don't need to know which. No, please. Really.)

And so, I think I'll sign off for the night. I've got to get up a bit early -- got a health screening at my new employer's tomorrow morning -- and it'll take me a while to get to bed, I have a feeling. These soft contacts don't come out by just squeezing your eyelids closed with your finger, like the gas permeables do. No. These little bastards require you to physically stick your finger in your eye, and pull the thing off. I did it once at the store, on about the eleventh try, so I have a feeling that I'll still be up for a couple more hours. Bitches!

So, I'll bid you a hearty good night.

(It doesn't have to be 'hearty', of course. It can be 'livery', or 'spleeny', or whatever you like. Hell, it can even be a 'genitalia-y good night', if you happen to be gettin' your freak on right now. Go get 'em, tiger!

Although... isn't it a little weird to be playing Slappity-Slap-Ass while you're reading this blog? I'm not sure what turns you on, but man, if this is it, you may have some serious issues. Unless you're a hot chick, of course. In that case, you can send me pictures. It'll be our little secret. Shhhhh.)

Seriously, I'm going now. I've had enough. Just let all of this be a lesson to you, would you? If you're procrastinating about something now -- changing jobs, buying a house, that organ transplant you've always wanted -- then for spoot's sake, go do it now. If you wait until the situation becomes critical, it's gonna be a much bigger pain in the ass. So go on -- get something taken care of, all right? Mark an item off your 'To Do List'. You'll feel better, and hopefully, you'll even keep your eyesight intact, and won't be forced to stick your finger in your own eyes at any point. in the process. Unlike me. Dammit.

So there you have it. I'll be semi-blind for a few days until the contacts come in, but I'll try to keep you entertained in the meantime. And I expect you to un-procrastinate about something before they're ready, too. Yeah, that seems all symbolic and shit; I'll go with that. So let me know what you plan to do, or better yet, what you've actually accomplished after reading this cautionary tale of woe and despair.

Hell, if you can't think of anything else to do, you can pledge to read through my whole archives, or my 101 Posts About Me. But good luck getting done before the contacts come in. That shit is long! Or at least, it used to be. I'm pretty sure it's all still there, but I really can't see it right now to be sure. Oh, why did I wait until disaster struck? Will this hellish nightmare never end?!?




Wednesday, October 01, 2003
 
Ghosts and Ghouls and... Can We Just Get This the Hell Over With, Please?

Shouldn't at least one of us know better by now?

So, it's October. That means Hallowe'en is right around the corner.

(And, in case you're wondering, I'm not going to bother putting that apostrophe in 'Hallowe'en' all damned day. I threw it in there once, just to show you that I'm aware of it, and I think I know where it goes, but it's just not worth the historical accuracy for me to continue slapping it in there. I'm American -- I'm lazy, all right? It's what we do.)

So, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a big fan of Halloween.

(See, there it is without the ' already. That's how it's gonna look for the rest of the post. So you'd better get used to it, all you holiday purists out there.)

I think the problem boils down to this:

Halloween is all about kids, candy, and scary crap.

I don't particularly like kids, candy, or scary crap.

(Perhaps you can connect the dots the rest of the way here. I don't want to beat you over the head with advanced logic or anything.)

So, maybe I should explain where I'm coming from, just a bit. You know, to seem less like a heartless humbug candy monster.

(Which I am, of course, but it simply doesn't pay to seem that way. I'm still pulling egg and toilet paper out of the dog's fur from last year.)

First, there's the scary crap. The movies, and the songs, and the decorations, and all of that. And here's the problem I have with this: most of the 'scary' crap isn't scary, it's silly. It's goofy and dumb, and it's just a waste of time. There, I've said it. Humbug, all right?

And the rest of the scary stuff is... well, scary. Now, I know there are people out there who enjoy a good fright -- hell, Michael Jackson's been married twice, so there are at least two of them, right? -- but I'm not one of those people. I enjoy a 'rush' and a 'thrill' and maybe even a 'shock', but to me, a 'good scare' is an oxymoron. If I'm seriously considering peeing my pants, or that there might actually be a knife poised to plunge into my neck, then I'm not having a good day. That's just not how my system works, you see.

But of course, I watch some of that shit, anyway. Who can miss The Shining? And every time, I say to myself, 'It's not scary. You know how it ends, and it's got Olive Oyl in it, for Chrissakes. Don't be a wuss.' So I watch it, and say, 'Yep, pretty good. Just like I remember.' And then I spend two hours that night with 'Red rum! Red rum!' running through my head, peeking out the corner of my eye to see if those creepy damned little twins are standing in the hallway. Frankly, I've got enough shit to keep me awake at night as it is. No, thanks.

So, on to the candy. My objections to candy are actually pretty simple. I like candy. I used to eat candy all the time when I was a kid. But then I went to college, and I started drinking beer. And I simply did the math -- if I eat candy and I drink beer, there aren't enough hours in the day for me to exercise it all away. (Especially because several of those hours will involve stomache aches or hangovers from all the damned candy and beer I've consumed.) So, if I didn't give one of them up, I'd be a cavity-riddled, swollen-livered four-hundred pound freak, using a bedpan because my sweaty ass would no longer fit on the toilet. And I'm not turning into grandma. I just won't do it.

Plus, these are not 'two great tastes that taste great together'. SweeTarts and Guinness do not a gourmet meal make. Neither are Skittles and Sierra Nevada a good match. So clearly, one of them had to go, and I picked candy. Once you hit eighteen or so, a good beer buzz beats the pants off a sugar high, any day of the week. So, I pretty much cut out the sweets. Sure, I'll occasionally indulge with a bit of ice cream, or a cookie of some kind, but only rarely. So the hedonistic succumbing to the sweet tooth that is Halloween holds no special thrill for me. Oktoberfest? Sure. Halloween? Eh.

Last, but not least, there are the children. ('Won't somebody please think of the children?!') It's not that I hate kids or anything, exactly. I just don't know what the hell to do with them. I don't know how to talk to them, or react to them, or get along particularly well with them. And frankly, I'm not that interested. They've got their world of Nintendo and Barbie and dirt bikes, and I've got my world of sex and booze and staying up past nine o'clock at night. And ne'er the twain shall meet, if I have my way. (Really, who wants their world when we have ours? They can't even make a good martini, dammit!)

See, I think of meeting a kid the same way I'd look at meeting a potential business partner, or a first date, or maybe a hooker.

(And no, that doesn't mean that I try to kiss the kid's ass, or bring flowers, or try haggling for a handjob. Or try to get the kid drunk, which works for all three. None of that is what I mean here. And the handjob thing is just sick, dude. Shame on you.)

What I mean is, I ask myself, 'What can I offer this kid, and what can they offer me?' And I find, more and more often, that the best answer is 'nothing at all'. That's the best answer; it rarely proves to be the only answer, though, and I often find out it's the best only after a couple of other options have been tried.

Take mudpies, for instance. There are scores of small children out there who will offer you mudpies. And should you be foolish enough to accept the offer, you'll soon find that you were better off with nothing. Well, 'nothing' and a clean shirt, anyway. Which you won't have once the mud starts flying.

But that's really an easy example -- you don't often accept any gift, from anyone, where wet dirt is included in the name of the item. So here's a subtler thing I've learned. Many of our wee little friends (children, not midgets; keep up with me here) will offer you their very most favoritest toy. They'll just walk up to you, solemn and doe-eyed, and place their bestest buddy toy or trinket right in your lap. Maybe you've had this happen to you. It's breathyaking, right? The greatest give a child could give. Heartwarming, no?

No. Why? Because the kid's not giving you the toy, or even sharing the thing with you. It's never quite that simple with children. No, the child is testing you. This is the kid's favorite thing in the entire world, remember. He or she is gauging you to see how much interest you'll show in this most revered of playthings. And, since all eyes in the room are always on the child, now everyone around you is looking at you, watching to see what you'll do next.

Now you're in the most uncomfortable of spots, through no fault of your own, simply because little Timmy or Jane came and plopped some snot-encrusted doohickey onto your lap. You've got a choice to make, and none of your options are good.

You can choose to ignore the toy altogether, risking the frowns of the adults around you as you fail to stimulate and love some other person's child. Just as significantly, you run the risk that the kid is prone to tantrums and will eventually slam the thing into your lap or your chest to get you to pay attention. And believe me, the business end of a G.I. Joe jammed into your crotch is going to sting. A lot. I tell you this from experience. (Oh, and while we're on the subject, 'kung-fu grip', my ass. Um, don't ask.)

You can instead choose to acknowledge the toy and place it beside you or in the floor. This is even worse than ignoring it, to the parental types in the room with you. Not just the kid's parents, either, but any parents who happen to be lurking around. Now they know that you're not just too busy chatting or eating to notice the toy, but you're making a conscious effort to get the thing -- and therefore the kid -- the hell away from you. Which is just the sort of behavior that's frowned upon by the caretakers of little people. (Again, the kids, not the midgets. Still with me?)

Finally, your other option is to show even the merest hint of an inkling of a trace of mild, slight, half-hearted, even feigned interest in the thing that's on your lap. If you have anywhere else to be in the next three days, this is the gravest mistake that you can make. Because the child will see even the slightest crack of an opening, and use it to coerce you into playing with this trinket that you seem to love so much. And you'll play for hours. And hours, and then hours after that. And that's just the first fifteen minutes. It can go on for hours and hours and hours more. You'll have tea parties, and singalongs, and mock battles, and you'll get the shit kicked out of your little GameBoy ninja by the kid's little GameBoy ninja.

And you'll do it until someone has the decency to come rescue you, or until the kid has to go to bed. Those are the only options -- these little bastards are like Terminators. They don't tire. They don't wear down. Hell, half of 'em don't even break to piss; they just do it right there in front of you, and keep on truckin'. It's frightening -- they're like little wound-up machines that won't stop. Ever. I've slipped more than one kid a 'ruffie', just to get away with my sanity intact. (Well, intact-er, anyway.)

But maybe I'm insensitive. Maybe I should suck up the unease, and hang out with the kids to help better their lives. Right? Wrong. Because, you see, I've really got nothing to offer them, either. They just don't seem to believe me when I tell them.

Take bedtime stories, for instance. I'm an adult; I've been around the block a few times. You'd think I could tell a good bedtime story, right? Well, no. Hell, you people have read my stories -- they're all about drinking, and morons, and blow-up sheep sex dolls. What kind of sugarplum dreams would that give children? And I can't exactly pull material from television; I'm not watching Mister Rogers or Barney on a Tuesday night, you know. I could probably tell them of stories 'ripped from the headlines' out of Law & Order, or maybe something juicy from Coupling. Really, what else could I use for inspiration? Family Guy? South Park? (Even I have the good sense to leave Mr. Hankey and Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls out of this.)

So it's probably just best if we leave each other to our own little worlds. We'll both be happier that way, and neither of us will have to have the nightmares any more. I think it's best that we just move on.

But I won't begrudge you Halloween.

(Not while I'm married to a normal, child-appreciating woman, anyway. But if I ever turn her... oooh, my lights are going to be so off on Trick-or-Treat night. You wait and see, you little buggers.)

So for now, feel free to come by. (And up our thirty-seven steps to the porch. Maybe I'll thin your herd out yet!) We'll have candy for you -- Kit-Kats and Snickers bars, M&Ms and Baby Ruths. Come one, come all, and we -- meaning my wife, most likely, while I'm upstairs hiding -- will pass out the goodies, as is our adulty duty. But don't think this is getting you anywhere, all right? Don't be bringing over your toys to play with, or shit like that. I'm a reasonable man, but if I have to, I'll lock you in the basement with our kid-munching Halloween monster. You have been warned.




Tuesday, September 30, 2003
 
Could You at Least Write It Down, and Just Hand Me the Note?

Only the good blog young. And I'm no spring chicken, dammit!

I'm going to my new office for the first time tomorrow. It's not really 'official' work -- that doesn't start for another two all-too-short weeks. But they'll be talking about me at my new group's weekly meeting, and I was invited to attend. So I'm going.

(And really, don't I have to go? Think about it. For one thing, I've got to make a good impression, right? They'll know soon enough about all the bad shit, so there should at least be one decent memory of me to make them think I have a chance to pull it all together some day.

Besides, how often do you get invited to an event where you know people are going to be talking about you? I was always shut out of the PTA meetings my parents and teachers held, and I never got to hear what my job interviewers or first dates talked about afterwards. I did finally sneak my way into the girls' locker room in high school, but it turns out they weren't talking about me, after all. At least, I think they weren't. I was pretty distracted, actually. They could have been speaking Swahili, for all I knew or cared at that point.

The point is that I can't turn down a golden opportunity to be present when the conversation is going to revolve around me. It's all about me tomorrow. Where I'm gonna sit, and what I'm gonna work on, and whose ass I'm going to kiss first. I'm practically dripping with excitement.)

It'll be fun to get my feet wet tomorrow, and a good chance to meet and greet all the people I'll be working with. It's going to be weird being back in an office after a couple of months off, though. It'll probably take me a while to get used to the place, and classify everybody I have to deal with.

What's that? You don't classify people at your workplace? Oh, but you should. It'll save you ever so much time. Here, I'll show you the way. Just follow me. Don't worry; I won't bite.

You see, there are three types of office workers these days. There are the 'emailers', the 'phoners', and the 'face-to-facers'. Most people are able to dabble in the areas that are foreign to them, but each person has their one specialty where they're the most comfortable.

Take me, for instance. I'm an 'emailer', and proud to be one. This means that if I have a question, or need you for something work-related, I'll send you an email. I don't want to hear your voice, and I sure as hell don't need to see you. I just want my answer, in writing and delivered to my mailbox, as soon as possible. No chit-chat, no screwing around -- just the facts, ma'am.

So, of course, I get along best with other 'emailers'. We understand each other. We've got this whole vibe going. They know I'll plop down with them at the end of the day for a beer and twiddle away the evening jawing about whatever the hell they like. But at work, when there's a deadline afoot, it's email, email, email. Quick, impersonal, and with a written log of what transpired; just the way I like it.

(See, now usually, I'd say something like, 'And just the way I like my anonymous sex, come to think of it.' But I don't want to beat you over the head with it, so I'll refrain. This time. And you're welcome. Don't get used to it.)

Anyway, things are just peachy between me and my emailing brethren. But of course, we're not the only rats in the race today, now are we? No. There are also the 'phoners'. These are the folks who will receive your question via email, and -- instead of replying in kind -- will call you up to 'discuss the matter', or 'clarify the issue', or 'question your sanity'. They simply can't bring themselves to type in a well-edited, succinct, clear response to your inquiry. No, they'd rather take twenty minutes out of both your lives to ramble on about the answer to your question, several related-but-useless answers, their current wardrobe, what they had for lunch, and whether you think they have a shot with that hot young muffin in the mail room. These are not my favorite people on the planet. Perhaps I let that slip. Oopsie.

But these are not the most heinous creatures that you'll find in your local office or cube farm. Oh, no. That distinction is held by the other group of people -- the dreaded 'face-to-facers'. These people can't even be bothered to call you to respond; they have to trudge down to your desk and hash it out with you in person, for the love of Christmas! So now, they're tired and pissy from their trip to your office, and you're all creeped out and bothered because they're standing there, clearly prepared to have a real-life bloody conversation, when a simple email 'Yes' or 'No' would have sufficed.

Really now, how fricking long does it take to peck out 'yes' on the keyboard? Or at the least, to dial a number and throw a 'No' down the line? Is it really and truly necessary to come bother me in the flesh? Don't I have enough crap to deal with, without these people standing there like a bunch of queued goons, waiting to launch into some convoluted explanation that's going to turn out to be completely unrelated to the original damned question? Please! Just go back, and send me the damned email -- if I need more from you, I can send another email. Really, we have the technology. These modern-day computer doohickeys are amazing; you really should learn about them someday and quit wasting my damned time. Now shoo!

Okay, that's perhaps a bit harsh. After all, I'm sure my constant emails are infuriating to them, too. They'd rather that I stop everything I'm doing, walk down the hall or stairs to their desk, stand patiently while they finish their spreadsheet or game of Minesweeper, and then ask my question in person. Frankly, I don't see how in the fuck that's preferable, but I have to assume that they think it is. Misguided little chatterboxes, aren't they?

Really, when you think about it, isn't every non-personal bit of correspondence better via email? You can read it over and over, or save it to cover your ass, and even forward the stupid ones to other coworkers for a good snicker at your colleague's expense. That's tough for the 'phoners' and 'face-to-facers' to do, unless they've got phone taps and minicorders set up all over the office. (And maybe they do. You can never tell these days. So you'd better stop picking your nose while you're sitting on the john at work. Somebody might be watching.)

And consider this -- as annoying as spam is, would you really prefer that the ridiculous ads and offers came your way via another medium? How'd you like it if we had door-to-door salesmen stepping onto your porch to say,

'Um, hi there. I'm just checking with everyone in your neighborhood to see if you need a bigger penis today. Is the lady of the house in, so I can get her opinion?'

I think not. Nor would most people appreciate it if little Timmy answered the doorbell, only to find 'Hot Asian Action' or 'Lisa Sucking Horse Dongs' on the front steps.

(Okay, so Timmy might appreciate it. But the rest of the family is unlikely to be as open-minded. Timmy always was a horny little bastard, after all.)

Obviously, I'm convinced that my way is best. Email is the way to go, especially when it comes to work-related crap. So I'll be interested to see how many people in the new office agree with me. I can deal with an occasional phone call or visit from a co-worker, of course. But if I'm stuck in a whole building full of 'face-to-facers', I may have to take some drastic measures to get any damned work done.

I could collar them all, and hook up an electric fence over my office door, for instance. That might deter a few. But, of course, the more persistent bastards would just stand in the hallway, gabbing and yakking as usual. A catapult of some kind would thin out that herd, I think. Nothing too lethal, you understand -- maybe something that shoots balls of shredded paper at them. A sort of high-powered confetti cannon. By the time they get the remnants of last quarter's financial outlook out of their hair, they'll be out of my hair, too. Which is the whole freakin' point.

Of course, I have to allow for the fact that some of these buggers might be rather nimble, and thus able to dodge the wads of pulpy waste I'm planning to sling at them. So maybe I should just cut to the chase and chain a guard dog to my office door. Something big and mean, like an orphaned Rottweiler or a K-9 cop German shepherd. It'll have to be a smart dog, so I can teach it the difference between 'kill' and 'maim' and 'just make him wet his pants'.

(Yeah, I'll have to find a way to abbreviate that last one. In the time it takes to say all that, I could hear enough blather to get really annoyed. Maybe I'll call it 'terrify' or 'tinklepants' or something like that. That should save some time and sanity.)

Anyway, I'll let you know whether I need to resort to such extremes to get my work done. Once I have any work to do, of course. Tomorrow's meeting is just a dry run, really. I'll get some idea of what I'm dealing with, but I won't know how these folks will react in a 'game situation'. That'll take a while to find out. In the meantime, though, if anyone's got an extra catapult I could take off your hands, that would be great. It never hurts to be prepared.




Monday, September 29, 2003
 
Please Tell Me I Just Stepped In a Puddle of Drool

It takes a village idiot to raise a blog.

Hey, all. I apologize for the lateness of today's entry. (As though you're maniacally reloading the site looking for yesterday's drivel. No, really, I give you more credit than that. Or me less credit. Eight of one, half dozen the other...)

Anyway, I started writing a post last night for you, and realized that it might be something I could try submitting to a local paper as a 'reader's column' entry. That didn't work out so well last time I tried it, but then I wouldn't be much of a public nuisance if I just wrote one essay and gave up, now, would I? No, I'll be bugging these editors, and hopefully others, for years to come. I have not yet begun to annoy.

But, of course, that left me without anything for you nice folks, which isn't cool. So here I am to kiss and make up. But please, folks, no tongue, all right? I get enough of that from the dog.

Speaking of our prized pooch, I think it's time that I told you about her little problem. Now, she'd kill me if she knew I was telling you this -- and she's a pit bull, so don't think she couldn't do it -- but she's a dribblah. That's Bahston-speak for 'dribbler', of course. Which doesn't mean that she has hoops aspirations; it means that she pees without realizing what she's doing. Her bladder's busted. She's incontinent. A wee-wee machine. Drippy McPisspants.

In other words, a royal pain in the (soggy) ass.

But it's not quite as bad as it sounds. Certainly, it's not good. Urine-soaked floors are rarely 'good'. (Unless you happen to be on fire, I suppose, in which case it might be just slightly better than burning to a crisp. Only slightly, though.)

Anyway, it's not as though her bladder fills and the floodgates open, spewing forth waves upon waves of nasty dog wee. It's more like a leak in a wall, where a few drips and dribbles will ooze down from time to time, often beading on the hardwood floor underneath her. Pretty to look at, to be sure. But not cool to deal with, and hell to step in. My feet will never be clean again, and there are pairs of socks that I can't even look at anymore.

To be fair, this really hasn't been much of a problem in our new house. You see, after a few months of finding drippy piss spots in our old apartment, we had her checked out, and diagnosed with her embarrassing little problem. And we found some medication that seems to plug her hole rather effectively.

(Figuratively speaking, of course. The day my dog needs a daily vaginal suppository is the day she gets a hearty handshake and a pat on the head, and then finds herself out on the street. I'll do a lot of repulsive, disgusting things for that dog -- and by gummit, I have -- but there are places I will not go. I'm simply not going to look up one day and find myself shoving crap into her hoo-hah on a Saturday afternoon. Nope, nope, and emphatically nope.)

Anyway, we've got her on these little pills that seem to do the trick. And she digs them, because they always come wrapped in cheese or some beef jerky type of yumminess.

(Speaking of which, how come I don't get the same courtesy? When I've got to take medicine, or vitamins, or eat lettuce, you don't see me getting it slathered in cheese sauce and meat-like product. No fuckin' way, man -- I'm expected to down that shit straight. Where's the love for the man of the house, eh? Maybe I'll start shaking piss all over the carpet for a while, and see how the wife likes that! Maybe then I'll get a little free cheese or something. Yeah, I'm sure that'll work. I'll let you know how that works out, as soon as they let me out of the obligatory straightjacket.)

So why do I bring this up now? Well, if you've been paying attention, you'll know that we left town for the weekend. We had a friend stay over at the house and keep the dog company. But -- and here's the thing -- the friend doesn't know about the pills, you see. So our pisspot pooch didn't get her goodies for just about two full days. And now, we're stuck wading through the consequences. (Which isn't nearly as figurative as I'd like it to be. Bitches!)

I think the worst is over, as I haven't noticed any streams or drips today. But you should have seen us last night. My wife took paper towel duty, while I was in charge of floor cleaner and puppy placement. So I'd sit the dog down on a spot on the floor, and my wife would swipe the pee away from the previous buttprint on the hardwood. I'd spritz it with the cleaner, and she'd give it another good rubbing down. Then, I'd pull the dog over to another area, and we'd repeat the process on the spot the dog had just vacated. We followed her around from place to place like that for an hour, and finally sent her outside to wallow in her own pissy juices. We may have killed some grass that way, but at least the floors were safer. For a while.

And so, I'm on 'tinkle patrol' today. Every time the dog gets up, or moves, or wags her tail, I check for drips and streaks and flying drops of wee.

(Which is a challenging skill to learn, I must say -- if you're at all familiar with our canine friends, you'll know that there's always some sort of fluid leaking out of some part of their body at all times. Their noses are wet, their mouths drool... I'm not even going to go into the back ends of these beasts. So distinguishing flying urine from slobber or dog snot is really not all that simple. You have to take color, consistency, and odor into consideration, not to mention trajectory. (If only to be able to avoid the putrid stuff.) So it's really a learned skill.

At the same time, it's not something I'd put on my resume. Though I'm proud to be an expert 'canine urine identification expert', I don't think that's really something that's often of use in the modern office. And if it is... well, I think I'll find a different office, thanks just the same. I've seen enough dog whiz to last a lifetime already. If I'm gonna get pissed on at work, I want it to be by 'The Man', not some mangy mutt. I think I deserve that much.)

Anyway, I'm happy to say that the pooch has passed every test today with flying dry colors. I can only hope that we've got the hormones or steroids or whatever the hell we're giving her back up to critical mass, and she'll start pissing en masse again, instead of letting individual drops slither out one at a time. And hopefully, she'll forgive me for telling you all about her little 'secret'.

Hell, she'd better. I'm that close to just throwing a diaper on the bitch and being done with it. And if she thinks this is embarrassing, just imagine what walking down the street in her Doggie Depends would be like. None of the other dogs will sniff her ass if it smells like plastic and talcum powder. I have to believe that's as low as a dog can sink, when it can't even get it's heinie huffed. 'Yo, little ass-sniffin' over here! Somebody, anybody? C'mon, tasty dog ass, right here ready for a big whiff! Nobody? Damn.'

So she'd better hope she can keep a lid on her bladder from now on. We're running out of clean carpets -- and socks -- so her clock is ticking. I just hope we don't have to take drastic measures. Nobody wants her ass sniffed more than I do, but at some point we'll have to draw a line in the sand. And she'll probably pee on that, too. Pissy little thing, anyway.




Sunday, September 28, 2003
 
I May Have to Towel Off After This Bout of Exercising -- Whew!

Unsane at any speed.

The wife and I made it back this afternoon from the wedding we attended in New Jersey. Unfortunately, nothing much happened. Well, I suppose technically all manner of things happened, but nothing interesting enough to bother you fine folks with. The whole thing came and went without much of note, I'm afraid.

(To the somewhat-distant observer, that is. I'm sure that most people there were noting all sorts of crap, from the pre-ceremony to the after-reception party at the hotel bar. But I didn't note anything, really. A good time I had, but noting I did not do. No. No noting was done by me. Enough Yoda-speak. Moving on.)

I suppose the timing or the wedding was a bit to blame. (You know, if you're the sort of person who looks for blame in situations like these. You really do need help; you know that, right?) The ceremony was scheduled for 10:30am, you see. And yes, that's an 'am' there, not a 'pm' whose 'p' was mangled in some horrible bendy accident. Ten-thirty in the morning, that's when these folks chose to 'get it on'. Um, betrothally speaking, that is.

Which puts these people a few long strides on the other side of the old sanity line, if you ask me. I suppose I'm just not a morning kind of guy. Personally, I do my best to avoid any important decisions before eleven, or even noon. My wee little brain just doesn't function well enough in the morning hours for me to trust it with decisions or money or sharp objects before lunchtime. I can't even imagine trying to get married, of all things, before I'd fully woken up. Hell, if we'd done our wedding that way, we'd still be sorting out the mess. I'd have put my tuxedo on backwards, and stood in the wrong place, and kissed one of the groomsmen when the time came. Who knows who I'd have ended up married to -- my grandmother-in-law or somebody, with my luck. 'With this ring, I do the what with the what-what, now?' Yeah, no thanks.

But these people pulled it off, so good for them. And in under an hour, too, which I was really impressed with. I learned on the trip down that it was to be a 'Catholic wedding', so I got a little nervous that the early start time was in effect to make sure the damned thing would finish the same day. I"ve heard about these multi-hour, fire and brimstone affairs. But it wasn't like that. Nope, just a simple 'da dum de dum, da dum de dum', and then wham, bam, kissy-kissy, there you go, husband and wife, don't let the door hit you in the bustle on your way out. Quick and easy. Very nice.

Of course, the downside to a morning wedding is an early afternoon reception, which is obviously sub-par. There are bucketfuls of wild and crazy shit that can happen at 'someone else's wedding', you see -- this is the type of event where some people really let down their hair and get loony. And loopy. And, not coincidentally, hammered off their ass. Which only leads to more shenanigans, the type that might actually be worth writing about.

But that shit doesn't happen by the light of day. Oh, no. When these people lift highball to lips and see the noonday sun peeking through the window over their glass, they put on the brakes. Nobody minds being 'the wild guy' or 'that drunk girl' at someone else's wedding, so long as they can slink off to their hotel room and sleep it off right away. But when they know they're going to be up and among (semi-)coherent people for twelve more hours... well, the air comes right out of the proverbial balloon, and nothing terribly interesting gets off the ground. No stripping, or streaking, or puking, or falling, or dropping, or making out, or any of that good shit. So, I got nothin'. (Six paragraphs about nothin', apparently, but in the end -- nothin'. Not much of a wedding, if you ask me.)

And so, I'll have to find another topic for the evening. Any requests, while I'm here? Something you'd like to see tonight? Anything? No? Okay, I'll just wing it, then. We'll see how far that gets us.

How about this -- I'll talk for a while about stock options, and you can see whether that makes you want to bludgeon yourself to death with your mouse to end the boredom. Don't worry -- I'll stop if it gets too scary. Your safeword will be 'grumblecheese'. Feel free to use it if things get out of hand.

So, about these options. They're becoming a royal pain in my assterior. They're all from my last job, which ended in July. I had three months after my last day in which to decide whether to 'exercise' the options, and so I decided to sit on them until the very last minute. Which is rapidly approaching.

(My wife reminded me to start looking at them last week, but clearly, that wasn't the very last minute, now, was it? A last minute, perhaps; one of the last minutes, but not absolutely the last minute. So I put it off until today, which is much closer. Gotta do these things right, after all.)

Anyway, here's the problem. I was at this last company for close to three years. And they shoveled out options at a fairly steady pace. To make matters worse, the options awarded at the one time didn't always 'vest' at the same 'rate', so they ended up in different 'lots'.

(Oh, I should probably mention that -- for the purposes of this post only -- a word in quotes is some financial stock thingy word that I either had to look up or ask about at some point in this process. Or invent a definition for -- I did that in a couple of cases, too, actually. I really don't get out much when it comes to anything involving money, or stock, or vesting rates. Or rating vests, for that matter. Mr. Blackwell is speaking Chinese, for all I can tell in those lousy reviews. Can't we all just wear jeans and get along?)

(I should probably also mention that I'm a moron. But really, isn't that fairly obvious by now?)

So, I've ended up with no less than eleven different 'lots' of options. All with different 'option prices' and number of 'exercisable shares'. Fine. I came up with a simple plan for dealing with these little bastards. Any 'lot' with shares below the current price, I'd buy. I'd then calculate -- based on the current price -- the profit I'd make by turning around and selling those shares right back. If that was enough to buy some of the shares that were above the current price, then I'd think about picking up a few of those, too. It would all depend on the numbers, and whether it was worth the hassle.

Well, the hassle, it turns out, starts way before that. The hassle begins when I read the sentence that says that a certain 'option type' won't be taxed upon 'exercise'. Which, of course, implies that other, less fortunate types will be taxed. Likely early, and almost certainly often. But at what rate, and by whom, is left to the reader's imagination. So, of course, eight of my 'option lots' are not of the non-taxable type, meaning that they are to be taxed, which throws a big fat gorilla wrench into my neat little plan.

So now I've got to calculate not only the cost for the options that are priced lower than the current stock price, but then I have to calculate the tax for each lot, and add that to the total. Based on what tax information, I really can't say. Twelve percent, twenty, thirty-one and three-quarters? Who the hell knows? It's all gibberish to me. I can almost feel the little nerve endings sizzling in my brain. Ssssssssssss.

So clearly, I don't know how much money I need, even to buy the 'safe' options that I should be able to turn an immediate profit on. This is to say nothing of being able to calculate said profit, deduct taxes from it, and turn around and decide how many more shares I could afford to buy with the remainder. (Allowing again for taxes on those options, like the good little boy that I am.) Excuse me while my eyes roll back into my head and I flop on the floor like a landed crappie.

I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do, but now I've got less than two weeks to actually do it. So 'decision time' is rapidly approaching. I think I may just send them all the money I can muster and say, 'Here. Now exercise whatever you can with this modest wad of cash, and tell me what the fuck I ended up with. Just keep it simple and don't make me dizzy, damn it!' Somehow, I think that might be the wrong approach.

(Probably because my wife just read that and said, 'No, that's the wrong approach.' Dammit! I'd have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for that meddling spouse.)

So maybe tomorrow I'll get out my thinking cap and my pocket calculator and a number two pencil and see just what the hell I'm working with. (Other than a handful of nearly-worthless options and a pint-sized brain.) I'll ask my wife to double-check my work, and at some point we'll bite the bullet and make the deal. The instructions won't match the size of the check, of course, but at least we'll start the ball rolling. And maybe when the dust clears, we'll have more money than when we started. I'm not counting on that, mind you, or even betting on it. But it's possible, right? It's not guaranteed to go shockingly wrong already. Only overwhelmingly likely that our money will leap down the shitter, never to be seen again. Still, those are better odds than I'm used to, so I guess we'll go for it. It's only money, right?

Anyway, that's my current dilemma. Or at least the one topmost in my mind at the moment. I'm sure I'm forgetting a veritable plethora of other fine messes, but I can only screw up one thing at a time. So right now, it's ruining this option thing. Tomorrow, who knows? I'll crash the car or electrocute the dog, or accidentally sell the house or something. It's always something around here.

Still, I have to say -- it's good to be back. I don't mind travelling a bit every now and then, but I'm really most comfortable right here at home. Even if I do have to deal with options crap and laundry and all the other housy shit. Besides, on this trip, it was really good to get back to the friendly confines. Like I said, nothing much happened, and the wedding was held in New Jersey. New Jersey, folks. The old homestead may have some issues, but it's not in New frickin' Jersey, I can tell you that. So really, things could be worse. Hey, when I put it like that, those options don't seem so tough, after all! Maybe I'll get some 'exercising' done this week yet!




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