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  Punchline Fever!

Standup Standup

  11/16/03: Comedy Studio
  12/03/03: Emerald Isle
  12/17/03: Emerald Isle
  01/07/04: Emerald Isle
  01/08/04: The Times
  01/18/04: All Asia Cafe
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  01/28/04: On the Hill
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  02/08/04: The Vault
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  101 Things About For Me

  101 Things Posts About Me

  #6: Six Stitches
  #7: What's in a Name?
  #11: The Speling Bea
  #19: A Capital Weekend
  #35: Road Trippin'
  #36: Geronimo! Ditto!
  #40: Three for the Ages
  #43: Mishaps on the River
  #47: Puzzled Over Puzzling
  #53: Justifying My Tuition
  #55: My Yearbook Quote
  #56: Whatever It Takes
  #65: Pissing in the Middle
  #78: Losing My Faith
  #85: Goodbye, Teeth
  #88: A Painful Separation
  #91: An Only Child
  #98: Nothing But Putrid
  #99: Bovine Dreaming
  #100: 'Dudden Hurt'

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World Star Gazette

Charlie/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Massachusetts/Watertown, speaks English. Eye color is hazel.
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Saturday, December 20, 2003
And Now for Something Completely Random

Well, shit. I've tried to start three different posts today, and they all went a big fat bunch of nowhere. So, you know what -- screw it. It's about time I got back to the roots of this blog, and threw a bunch of unrelated, random, schizophrenic shit at you. So that's what I'm gonna do. Don't expect coherence, folks; as a matter of fact, don't look for any damned sense at all.

(And if you think I'm bluffing, you should know that I also managed to find Monty Python on BBC America, and I'm watching some of that TiVoed goodness right now. Currently playing -- 'Owl-Stretching Time'. Strap in, folks -- this may get a bit silly. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Is there anything more mind-numbingly, suicide-inducingly boring than folding socks? (And if you say, 'yes, this blog', then you're cut off. Don't be a smartass, dude.)

Anyway, I've just been folding socks, and I'm ready to tie a few together and choke the life right out of myself. Maybe it's because all my socks look almost -- but not quite -- alike. And there are six or seven styles -- some have yellow toes, and others have gray toes, and some are just a little longer... other than my fishnet stockings, I can barely tell any of them apart.

Er, that's my wife's fishnet stockings. Of, um, course. Moving right along.

Matching these socks is like... I don't know, pairing up jumbled-up pictures of centerfold boobs cut out from a Playboy, or something. Only without all the magic and involuntary ecstatic shivering.

(Hey, come to think of it, that would be a pretty fun game. Just snip out a bunch of lefties and righties, and mix them together, and then try to figure out which ones go with which. Cool! Wow, I'm glad I thought of that! Next time it's time to fold socks, I'm doin' that instead! Laundry just got sexy! Woo hoo!)

I'm an only child. This is in stark contrast to my father, who was next-to-last of eleven kids. Eleven kids, folks -- they could have played basketball against each other -- full-court, full-squad, honest-to-God games, plus one left over to sub. Or ref, or pretend to be Spike Lee or Jack Nicholson. In any case, it's a frickin' boatload of children.

I remember asking my dad about it one day, back when I was a kid:

Me: Um, Dad -- you were one of eleven, right?
Dad: Yep, that's right.
Me: So... we're what, Catholic, then?
Dad: No, son. We're not Catholic.
Me: Part rabbit, maybe? Like, we got bunny DNA in our systems from some horrible farming accident, or by sitting on the wrong toilet seat?
Dad: Um... no.
Me: You're not saying... grandpa was a 'bunny lover', are you? I mean, cows, sure, with the udders and the fuzzies and the moo-ing... but rabbits?
Dad: No! Look, son, we're not 'part rabbit'. Let it go.
Me: But... but... eleven kids? Dude! What's up with that?
Dad: Well, it happens, you know?
Me: Dad, I'm twelve. I know what happens. I even know how it happens. But there's nothing in my short life experience that indicates how it could happen eleven fricking times, man. That's crazy.
Dad: Well, times were a bit different then. I think they were sort of... you know, bored.
Me: Bored? Shit, Dad -- bored is one thing, but eleven kids? Christ, couldn't they have read a book, or taken a damned walk, or -- I dunno -- played some freaking Nintendo, or something?
Dad: Son, there was no Nintendo back then.
Me: Well, Christ, there should have been. Eleven kids... shit! Let the woman rest, for goodness' sakes.
Dad: Riiiight. Not to change the subject, son, but you're adopted. You know that, right?

Yeah, Dad always was a kidder. And I've always been told it's just a coincidence that I have the mailman's high cheekbones.

Still, eleven children has got to be a pain in the ass to put up with. And the younger ones, like Dad, have it tough, too -- it's like having five or six parents, with all the older kids telling you what to do, or sending you to bed, or making you run errands. It's gotta be like being a gofer in a sweatshop or something. No wonder Dad's a little wonky sometimes.

I went to a party last night. Really, a real party -- one of those dress-up adult parties.

(Well, okay, not one of those 'dress-up adult' parties, like in Eyes Wide Shut, or anything like that. We didn't put on costumes, or lingerie, or oversized puppet heads and get all 'adult' on each other. Stay in my world here, all right? I mean, I'm with you -- those kinds of parties would be much cooler, but that's not what happened. Let's not get ourselves all lubed up unnecessarily, 'k?

Well, maybe just a little... mmmmm... oversized puppet heads... yeah, baby!)

Anyway, I had to come home and put on a suit for this little soiree. It was some holiday shindig or other thrown by the law firm my wife works for. So, yeah -- four hours in a monkey suit, surrounded by lawyers and listening to Christmas carols -- that's pretty much the third circle of Hell right there. But there was free booze, and nobody knew who the hell I was, so it really wasn't all that bad.

But what I kept thinking to myself was this: what the hell do women do with their hands at parties like these? I mean, it's a big company thing, so everybody's a little nervous. Throw in dozens of overdressed uppity bastards and pompous stuffed shirts, and everyone's gonna be a bit antsy. It's perfectly natural.

And this is one of those areas where guys have it much easier than women. Because when you get nervous, you start fidgeting, and wondering what to do with your hands. And men's suits have pockets, which is a damned life saver. I spent all night last night putting my hands in, and taking them out, and putting things in there, and taking things out -- I did the 'Pants Pocket Hokey Pokey' the entire time I was standing up. And it saved my ass -- otherwise, I'd have been clasping my damned hands, and unclasping them, and folding my arms, and unfolding, and putting my hands on my hips, or other people's hips, or heads, or boobs, or god knows where else. The pockets keep the little guys out of trouble.

(No, not those little guys. The zipper keeps those little guys out of trouble. Amazing how many helpful accessories a pair of pants can have, isn't it?)

But the women don't have the same advantage -- their hands are out there, just flapping around, with no container or anything to put them in when they're not in use. You'd think some designer would have come up with a holster or something for dresses, so they'd be on a level playing field. But no. I simply don't see how they manage. My hands would have strangled me by now, if left to their own devices like that. A long time ago. No doubt.

Well, that's all I've got for now, folks. Hope you enjoyed the snippets of silliness. Hopefully, I'll be more focused and coherent tomorrow. On the other hand, I'm about to head out to a party -- no dressing up this time -- so I'll be drinking for the next four or five hours. Hell, I might be worse tomorrow. Might blog in Japanese, or Spanish, or something. Or just pound my forehead on the keyboard for twenty minutes, and post whatever the hell comes out. We'll just have to see. Until then, this is what I've got. Enjoy!

Friday, December 19, 2003
Don't They 'Play-Test' These Damned Things, For Chrissakes?

I just used the bathroom here at the office.

Now, I tell you this not to gross you out -- I'm not gonna describe the results, or wax poetic about the appearance of what came out of me, or tell you that I sweated and cried and made jungle monkey noises during the process of expelling it.

(All of which may or may not be true. But I'm not gonna tell you that, either. You don't wanna know, really.)

No, I bring up my little romp in the rest room simply to tell you how sucky the toilet is in this building. I mean, I went into the stall for a nice round of 'plop plop fizz fizz', and it just ended up wrong. All so terribly, terribly wrong.

(Like using a commercial jingle to describe a bowel movement isn't 'wrong', in and of itself, right?

Hey, look, it could be worse. I could have used a different jingle, you know. How would you like to think of one of these, next time you're gettin' all squinchy on a strange potty somewhere:

'Made from the best stuff on earth.'
'When in doubt... shout it out!'

Or my personal favorite:
'Roaches check in... but they don't check out.'

Mmmm... tasty!)

All right, what the hell was I saying again? Oh, the stupid toilet stall. Right.

So, right off the bat, I could tell things weren't going to go well. (Not 'poo-flingingly' unwell, perhaps, but still -- not well.) See, the stall in this room is really, really narrow. Once inside the door, I could barely face the toilet without scraping my shoulders on the sides of the enclosure. And trust me, there is never a time when you want to be in a bathroom stall, and thinking about anything 'scraping' anything. Ever. So that's bad, right away.

The stall isn't very deep, either, so as soon as I walked into the thing, I was in danger of banging my shins on the toilet bowl.

(And while I'd like to be able to say, 'You never want to be in a bathroom stall, and think about 'banging' anything'... um, well, let's just say that I was taught at a very early age that Victoria's Secret catalogs make spectacular bathroom reading material, and leave it at that. Ahem.)

Anyway, given the cramped quarters in there, I had to do this shimmy-wiggle to get past the inward-swinging door and close it behind me without stepping in the frigging toilet bowl. At least, I assume I'd have to do so -- apparently, my 'shimmy-wiggler' is on the fritz, however, and I ended up dunking a loafer in the drink. At least the water wasn't yellow. Much.

So, finally, I got turned around, and 'assumed the position' to get down to business. That's when I discovered another problem with the stall -- it's so tiny because one side of it has been chopped off -- it wasn't originally designed that way. So the toilet is off-centered in the space. Now, you might not think this would be so disorienting... but you'd be wrong, you know. Oh, so very wrong. When you've got two feet of space on one side of your naked ass cheeks, and only about three inches of space on the other side of your naked ass cheeks, it's not a good feeling. Not only did I learn that my ass is highly claustrophobic, but also that shitting in such an orientation makes me feel like I'm constantly sliiiiiiiding toward the closer wall.

Now, I knew it was just a psychosomatic thing, that the sensation wasn't real. But when there's even the slightest chance of pooping directly on the floor -- unless that's what you're intending to do, you sick bastard -- you take every precaution that's available to you. So, I braced myself, and I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked doing it.

Picture this, if you can -- I'm sitting there, in this... closet, pants draped around my ankles, leaning into the wall closer to me, and bracing myself along the far wall with the arm and leg on that side. All the while trying -- and generally failing -- to keep my ass centered over the hole in the toilet, while sliding back and forth over the seat.

(Yeah, by the way, I wouldn't use that bathroom next, if I were you. My ass cooties are all up in its bidness now.

And while the seat is likely to be nice and toasty for a while, thanks to my heat and a lot of friction, remember the old saying:

'The only thing worse than a really cold toilet seat in the comfort of your own home is a really warm toilet seat anywhere else.'

Fear the heated seat, folks. Fear it!)

Anyway, there I was, doing my best to...um, 'put all the biscuits in the basket'? No? Still too graphic? Sorry -- there are only so many ways you can describe this sort of thing. I'm trying my best here.

But there I was, playing 'toilet target practice' (better? A little? Okay.), when I noticed the last problem with this stall -- the gap between the door and the frame was way too big. Way. No, seriously -- way. I'm not kidding.

So, I like to think I'm like most of you out there, in that I like just a little sliver of daylight between the door and stall, so I can get an idea of what's going on out there in the bathroom proper. Hey, if a brawl, or a circus, or a Playmate pillow fight happens to break out near the sinks, I wanna know about it. (Especially if the Playboy chicks start 'using' the automatic hand dryers, when they're done with the pillows. Yeah, you know what I'm talkin' about.)

Anyway, you're a lot closer to the door when you're inside the stall, so it's good to have a little gap to peer through. But if that gap is too wide, then at some point, you have to believe that people 'out there' can see in , and spy on you with your undies wrapped around your ankles, panting and puffing and reading the paper (or that Vicky's Secret catalog). Nobody wants that!

And the door-gap in this stall was about as big as I'd ever seen! There was a finger's width -- maybe two! -- between the stall door and the frame.

(I'd be more specific, folks, but I swore off sticking my fingers into anything in a bathroom stall a long time ago. Sure, call me a wuss if you like. But three arrests and a restraining order will do that to you. I'm just sayin'.)

Anyway, that was the last straw for me. Sure, I'd plop my ass on the lopsided toilet in that cramped little space, and flop and tumble around like a hooked fish, trying to find my equilibrium... and then I'd even (apparently) tell you about it -- but I was not going to be walked in on by some bastard who could actually see what I was doing from outside the stall. That's just wrong. So I finished up, wiped down, hiked trou, made with the zippies, and got the hell out of there, before any witnesses could observe my madness.

So, I suppose I got away more or less unscathed. Still, that bathroom stall sucks ass. And I'm not at all sure that I'm ever going back -- I might just have to find a public bathroom, or a trash can, or a tree, next time I'm at the office, and I've got to desperately make a number two. I just don't think that I can use a toilet that has so many things wrong with it. It's too traumatic.

So let this be a warning to all of you -- these bass-ackwards, peepshow-allowing miniature rest rooms are out there; don't get sucked into using one yourself. Trust me, you won't feel right afterwards... or during... or when blogging about it to the world at large. It's creepy, really. Don't let yourself get into the mess that I did. Remember -- no good can come from an undersized, lopsided, open-gapped crapper. Those are words to live by, my friends. Words to live by.

Thursday, December 18, 2003
You Just Said What, Now? Lemme Get a Pen...

You know what I miss, all of a sudden? (Because I have no topic, and this is the first lame-ass idea that popped into my head?)

I miss my 'Wall of Wisdom' that I used to have back in college. Maybe some of you had something similar. I have to admit, it's not one of my more original ideas.

(Not like the Teflon-coated thong underwear, or 'Nostril Nair', or the automated robotic heat-seeking ass-wiper. (Hey, I don't like feeling around back there with tht toilet paper; do you?)

Now those are some of my more original -- albeit painful -- ideas. Maybe it's best that the 'Wall of Wisdom' isn't quite so... creative. I'd probably end up hurting myself with it, too.)

Anyway, back to the 'Wall'. Now, I don't want you to confuse this with the 'Big Wall', which I explained a few months ago. The Big Wall is useful. Practical. Indispensible, even. The 'Wall of Wisdom', on the other hand, is a lot like this blog. It's purpose is purely to entertain, and it has no practical value -- or, indeed, any redeeming qualities whatsoever. Utterly pointless, except to elicit a chuckle or a titter.

(Hey, I'm all about the titters over here... but that's a story for another time, perhaps. And another outfit -- why, I'm barely wearing anything lacy at all right now. And nothing made of leather, for goodness sakes.

What? Oh, that? No, that's not leather. Trust me, an awful lot of 'naugas' were killed to make that thing. Still chafes a little, though.

Oh, and this little doohickey? Nah, that's not leather, either. I'm not sure exactly what kind of animal that comes from, to be honest. I'd have guessed a rhinoceros, but it smells... gamier than that, don't you think? Um, assuming that's the animal's smell that's on it now. Uh, yeah.

What's that? Oh, no, those little things hanging down there aren't leather tassels. Actually, they're not tassels at all -- they're... um, maybe it would be better if we got back to the rest of the post now. Otherwise, you might have to use a Big Wall on me. And I don't think either of us wants that. I'll just put these 'tassels' away, and we'll move on, all right? Good.

Heh. That tickles! Whoo!)

Ahem. Okay, what the hell was I talking about again? Oh, the Wall of Wisdom. Okay, let's do this thing.

So, it's pretty simple, really. I think I actually started the idea back in high school, on one of those brown paper jackets that kids had on their textbooks sometimes. Of course, maybe that was just where I lived, and I'm showing my backwards ass by even mentioning it. But I'm gonna plow right past that possibility, and assume that you -- at least some of you, anyway -- had, or knew people who had, protective sleeves on their textbooks made from plain white plastic or brown cardboardy type of paper. Plain, of course, to make it all the better to write all over. And write on it I did.

Only I didn't write the usual things that 'teenytards' are known to scribble on their notebooks and such -- I didn't 'heart' anyone on the book jacket, and didn't declare that anything 'sux!', and there were only a couple of band logos crudely drawn around the edges. (The Cure, or the Alarm, maybe... possibly R.E.M., or the Screaming Blue Messiahs; I really don't remember.)

What I did write on that book jacket, though, were things that my friends said, or my teachers taught, or that my parents handed down to me at the family dinner table. Things that I wanted to remember -- tidbits that would guide me through life, and offer insights into my very soul, and stick with me for the rest of my days. I had the idea, and immediately put the plan into action, writing 'Words of Wisdom' on the back of the book in big block letters. And so, I started to collect those 'words of wisdom', those timeless nuggets, those priceless pearls...

Meaning, of course, innocent shit that you could take out of context, and make it sound dirty. That's all that ever made it to the book, of course. Hopefully, you saw that coming. I hope you didn't think that I was actually trying to collect worthwhile, inspirational, uplifting shit -- where the hell is the fun in that? Besides, I was a teenager -- I knew everything back then. I wasn't gonna learn anything from, you know, people. Dude! Like, gag me.

But what I would do is ridicule and embarrass people -- including myself -- when they inadvertantly put their foot in their mouth, and said -- perfectly innocently, with straight, solemn faces -- things like:

'If you want me to eat that, you're gonna have to wipe that stuff off it first!'
'I'd prefer you suck than blow'
'You are not gettin' that thing in there. Go ahead, get a shoehorn -- it's not gonna work!'

Come graduation, the best of the best of the 'Words of Wisdom' went with me to college. Where, it turns out, the whole 'wrap your book in a paper jacket' fad was, sadly, not in vogue.

(Look, tell me it wasn't just me, all right? Maybe there was something else written on the other side of the paper or plastic, and we flipped 'em over so we could write on 'em. I don't remember, really... just tell me it's not some kind of creepy backwoods Deliverance type of thing, all right? Somebody? Anybody? Bueller? *sigh*)

Anyway, that's when I decided to use the gems that I'd already collected to start a posterboard full of quotes. And I taped that posterboard up on the cinder-block wall of my freshman dorm room. And that board became the 'Wall of Wisdom', which survived -- nay, thrived -- for two years or more. I think we even had to start a second one, as the hilarity just spilled off the first. It was spectacular. I highly recommend it, and I really do miss it greatly.

So, for any of you who might be interested in starting a similar project, I'll tell you the rules. And, like most things in my life have to be, it's again very simple. First, you've got to find something to write the quotes on, and put it up in a public, or semi-public, place. Write some clever title on the very top; 'Words of Wisdom', 'Notable Quotes', 'He Said, She Said', 'What the Fuck Did You Just Say?!' -- any of these would work just fine.

Next, you've got to get a couple of people in on the game with you. All you need is two or three to start; if your friends are any kind of cool, they'll pass the idea around, and you'll soon have people coming to you with quotes to include. And if not... well, get new friends, frankly. Look, there are plenty of cool people out there, all right? Just latch onto one, and he or she will lead you to others. They travel in packs -- you've just gotta find a way to get your foot in the door, and you'll be fine. Don't fret it, dude.

Speaking of 'the game', what is it, exactly? Well, just what I've said -- anything that's both

A.) said in all earnestness and innocence, and
2.) when taken out of context, potentially very, very dirty

is fair game for inclusion on the list. (Or the 'book', or the 'wall', or the 'tattoo' -- however you choose to capture these little rib-ticklers.) You can't get on the wall if you're trying to be dirty, and you shouldn't put on a quote that's not really all that dirty.

Here's a good test -- find yourself one of those sick, sarcastic smartasses with a mind constantly in the gutter.

(Where, you ask? Well, you could hang around my friends, for a start. Otherwise, you can probably find a few in a bar somewhere, or playing pool on a Friday night, or teaching Sunday school. Or put out a want ad. Whatever -- look, I can't do everything for you here.)

So, the test of a good candidate quote is simply to say it, with no context or preface at all, to your smartass friend, and see what happens. If they snicker, or shrug, or just look at you, blinking, then the quote's probably not so good. But if they giggle like a schoolgirl, or snort coffee or spaghetti sauce out their nose and say, 'Bu -- wha'?!?', you've probably got a keeper.

(And a messy smartass friend, with food or liquid all over their clothes. So you should definitely unleash your potential quotes on them when they're eating or drinking. Nobody likes a smartass, anyway.

Or, um, so I hear. Meh.)

Anyway, that's about it. You'll be surprised how many of these double entendres you'll find, once you -- and a small horde of your closest friends -- start listening for them. They simply can't be avoided. Soon your quote list will be growing like kudzu, or those little 'Sea Monkey' parasites, or that green pubic hair on a Chia. And you'll have a wealth of funny shit to look at every day. You won't remember exactly what the person was trying to say originally -- even if it was your mouth the accidental filth spewed from -- but you'll remember the quote, and you'll have something else to annoy your friends with. What could be better?

Hell, maybe I'll start a new board of my own here at home, or better yet, at work. Oh, yeah -- with the amount of ridiculous shit that gets said around that place, it oughta be a veritable treasure trove of embarrassing snippets. Maybe I'll start the 'Cubicle of Wisdom', and bug the hell out of everyone there with it. Cool! And I've been looking for ways to be more annoying, too! Hallelujah!

If Anyone Asks, I'm Not Here

Hey, guys. It's me -- shhhhhhh!

I'm checking in from work, and I wanted to give you a little update. But don't tell anyone, okay? I'm supposed to be working on some web thingy, or database, or some technical doohickey or other. (I dunno -- who comes up with this stuff, anyway?)

So don't tell anybody I'm here, all right? I'm just popping in for a minute to tell you this:

  • My latest foray into the world of standup -- from just last night; how's that for 'hot off the hilarity presses' -- is up! Click the link you just passed, or check the sidebar for more info, and the first two shows. Feedback is always welcome, even on the old shows. You never get tired of hearing, 'Dude, you're an ass.' Humph.
  • The bad news is that JavaJenn over at Mommy Needs Coffee is sick. (Everybody, all together now: 'Awwwww!' Very nice.) The good news is that she's graciously allowed me to help fill her shoes (black lace-up pumps, if you're interested) with a guest post. And, of course, the even better news is that she's got lots of other, older posts that are better than the drivel I dropped there, so you should really go check her out, and read through all her archives. I mention my post only to prove how nice (and, quite possibly, misguided) Jenn is; don't actually read it. Go dig through the good stuff, instead.

Okay, that's all the time I've got right now. I'd better go look busy for a couple of hours, so I'll have time later to post something of substance here. In the meantime, go check out the standup clips, say 'heya' and 'get well, dammit' to Jenn, and I'll see you back here later.

Now where the hell is this 'database' thingy again? Sheesh.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Where Do You Want to Blog Today?

Well, folks, this is six months here at the old bloggery. I'm not really sure what to say about it. 'Thanks!', for one, for all of you who've read, and commented, and sent me cool emails -- you guys are the best, and I couldn't do this without you.

(Well, okay, so technically, I could -- people have been writing private little diaries and things for years. And come to think of it, I didn't get any hits or comments or messages for the first few weeks, either, and I still kept going.

So, I suppose it's better to say that I could do this without you... but I don't want to. It gets awfully chilly around here without you guys milling around. You've got to keep stopping by, at least so I can siphon off your body heat.

Um, you know, in the most innocent, non-sexual way possible. Of course. I'll keep the actual leg-humping to a bare minimum, and I'll barely use any 'love lotion' at all. It'll all be very tasteful. No, really. Hey... where are you going? Damn.)

Anyway, I already took a tongue-in-cheek look back at a few highlights yesterday, so I thought that today I'd give you a bit of insight about me and my writing, rather than the blog itself. Let's see if we can milk anything useful out of this, all right? Here goes.

So, in the six months I've had this site, I've blogged:

  • from four different offices, on two jobs
  • from my desk at home
  • from my living room couch
  • from my living room floor (when sitting on the couch was just too exhausting)
  • from a deli (look, I'm doing it right now!)
  • from a food court near one of my offices
  • through a mealtime, forgetting or neglecting to eat
  • on three other people's blogs
  • until after three am, before going to bed
  • before ten am, just after getting up

That's not so bad, I guess. It shows a certain level of obsession and commitment to the craft. I blog at work, on lunch breaks, in my spare time, and when I should be sleeping. This is all well and good.

But you know, I think I can do better.

And so, I'm setting a few goals for myself. I'm taking a moment to step back, here at the half-year mark, and throw some milestones out there to meet before my first full year is up.

Therefore, before my one-year annivesary on June 17th, 2004, I'm going to do the following. I'm going to blog:

  • from my car (whether I'm actually driving, or the car is moving, are purely optional at this point -- baby steps, people)
  • from bed, either before sleeping or just after waking
  • while out at dinner, or in a bar or comedy club
  • from an airplane, at altitude (Christmas break oughta get me this one)
  • in a business meeting, while pretending to be working or taking notes
  • from a bathroom (hey, most of my ideas go right down the crapper... why not cut out the middle man?)
  • naked (and no, there aren't gonna be any piccys of it -- really, would you want that? Perv.)
  • from at least five different states or countries (the break will give me a head-start here, too)
  • on five other people's blogs (even if I have to resort to stealing passwords!)
  • on both ends of a 24-hour period, without sleeping in between (not necessarily continuously blogging, but this does have Blogathon written all over it, don't you think?)

Well, that's all I can think of. Given the 'where I've been' and the 'where I want to go' lists, I'd say I'm blogging at about 40% efficiency right now.

So how about you? How many of these things have you done? Or would you want to do? Or are there other goals you've set for yourself? Or am I just a frigging douchebag for thinking of such things at all? (Yeah, look, just don't answer that last one, all right? We all know the answer already; there's no need to rub it in my damned face.)

Anyway, thanks again for being here. If I remember, and the authorities haven't locked me away by then, I'll post an update on my goals in June, and we'll see how I've done.

Hey, you can play along, too -- set some goals. Think of them as (slightly) early 'New Year's Blogolutions', and we'll hook up in June -- or next December, if you'd rather -- to take a status check. C'mon, it'll be fun.

Just one thing, though -- everybody's got to have the 'Blog naked' item on their lists, even if you've done it before. If I'm gonna risk burning my damned winkie with my laptop, I'm not gonna be the only one.

(And besides, just thinking of all you folks -- well, half you folks, anyway -- out there 'blogging in the buff' helps to warm me up, even when there aren't so many of you around. Like when I'm wrapping up a post at three in the damned morning, for instance.

Speaking of which, it's pretty chilly around here right now. C'mon over, and we'll get warm. Now where did I put that tube of 'love lotion', anyway?)

Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Pay No Attention to All the Crap Hidden in the Closets

Hey, everybody. It's me, Charlie... being nice and sweet to you. You know, just like always. *wink*

(Pssst! Look, don't screw this up for me, okay? I'm next in line for a Weblog Review review, and they might be looking at the site any time now... they could be here right now! Yikes!

So just play along, okay? Everything's cool, and we all get along, and there are none of those nasty skeletons in the closets, or anything like that. All right? Just be cool for a little while, and then we can go back to hanging out in our undies and drinking beer out of flowerpots and writing the Gettysburg Address in the snow. Cool? Cool. Okay, here goes.)

Ahem. Sorry about that. So, here I am, once again. And hmmm... let's see, what to talk about today? Ooh, I know -- why, it nearly slipped my mind, but I've got a 'thank you' to deliver! My goodness!

You see, today I was o-fficially named the winner of the November contest over at the Weblog Review. That means that you fine folks -- all of whom are always welcome around here! -- helped to make this humble little blog the number one referer to the Weblog Review for the whole month of November! My word, it's all so exciting!

(Okay, so what it really means is that a few of you wandered over there, probably trying to get the hell away from the insanity here. I can respect that. I don't like you any more, you big boob, but I can respect that. I picked up your considerable slack by obsessively checking the site out once or twice a day, to see whether my review was getting any closer or not.

Anyway, what that also means is that I got a faboo Amazon gift certificate for winning. So get your cans over there, albeit after the fact, and show them some love. Those fine folks have saved you from having me beg and plead you to buy me shit from my wishlist, 'cause now, I can do it myself! So they've bought you a little time on that front. Very little... I get bored easily, you know.

Damn, I'd better get back to the nicey-nice crap. Okay, be cool. Don't do anything crazy.)

So. What else? Oh! Hey, you know what? It just occurred to me that I'm also just about due for a review from the Weblog Review, too! Wow, it almost slipped my mind! What do you know?

Well, then. I suppose I shouldn't deviate from the sweet and happy norm around here... so I'll just post something hilarious and captivating, without any sort of gratuitous linking back to my favorite posts or features or anything like that. Just business as usual around here -- yes, sir. I'll just thank the fine folks at the weblog Review -- that's the Weblog Review, folks! -- and move on, just as I normally would.

So, let's see... what's going on tonight? Well, as luck would have it, I'm actually preparing for my third-ever standup show tomorrow night. (Oh, and just in case you might be interested, you can check out the first two shows here and here. Not that you have to... and, of course, all you guys have seen those already... I don't even know why I bring them up. Um, heh.) Anyway, I think I've got my five minutes ready, so I'm ready to roll. It's all-new material, so those of you in the Boston area, come out to the Emerald Isle and check it out!

Woo! That was exciting, wasn't it? It's just a whirlwind around here, like always. Right, folks?

(Dudes! That's your cue! Say, 'Right!' C'mon -- 'Right!' Say it, quick!)

(Oh, people... you can do better than that. You sound like a bunch of sedated heifers. Perk it up, would you? Don't blow this for me!

And stop clowning around, would ya? Jeez... Andy, get that thing out of your mouth! I know where that thing's been, and trust me -- you don't want to. Amber, c'mon -- take that lampshade off, and put down the wrapping paper. We're not playing that game from last week again. I think we broke Buzz' pinky last time, anyway. And dammit, TJ, put your damned pants on!

No, no, dude... on your legs! Your legs! Oh, fer chrissakes, everybody get into the basement, would you? Just go... go! I'll let you out when the reviewers are gone. And no drinking the fabric softener down there, you hear me?)

Sorry about that. You know how it is, with the kids these days, and their wild parties... Really, I apologize. Let's get back to the post, shall we?

(Hey, shut up down there! And was that the dog I just heard? What the hell are you people doing, anyway?)

Um... hmmm, let's see. Maybe we should move away from the basement. It's so... drafty, is all. What else can we talk about? Ooh, I know -- there's another little bit of excitement around here. Tomorrow -- the 17th -- is the six-month anniversary for this blog! Six whole months -- wow! Oh, I can still remember some of the highlights, too... reminisce with me, won't you...

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Ah, yes, the very first post -- I remember it like it was yesterday.

(That's yesterday that I wrote it, not yesterday that I checked it for spelling errors and shit that wasn't funny. Oh, wait, that was yesterday. Heh. Good times, good times...

Hey. How'd you get out of the basement, anyway? Damn, you people are slippery!)

Let's see... what else has happened along the way? Well, I finished up my 100 Things Posts About Me a while back. That was cool. And I managed to get through one hundred and twenty-plus taglines, before I ran completely dry and hit the wall decided to take the blog in another direction. Ahem.

Soon after that, I added the search feature, and the 'About Me' and 'About This' pages, and then even had the nice folks at Blogger agree to remove those ads at the top of the page. Woo hoo!

And let's see, what else? I mean, gee -- I'd never just throw links out there at people, trying to point them toward the good stuff -- I mean, it's all good stuff, right guys?

(Oh, shit. They're all locked in the basement. Damn. I knew that would come back to bite me in the ass. *sigh*)

Anyway, just -- you know -- while I'm reminiscing and all... I do remember a few entries rather 'fondly'. (That's 'with fondness', of course; not 'like fondling'. Um, unless you're into that sort of thing. I can do fondling. Really, I don't mind. No problem.)

Let's, um, just get to this gratuitous list of posts trip down memory lane, shall we? Certainly, my experience with 'Goltar' was a lot of fun, as was my time on the Wheel of Fortune set. You know, until the bastards cut me out of the show, that is.

Ooh, and then there was the poem I wrote, and my ode to grocery shopping, and the time I was laid off. Ah, such memories... that I'm dredging up purely for my own nostalgic purposes. Purely. Of course.

Anyway, I could go on like this for hours.

(And I usually do. But in this case, I'd get into the drivelly crap pretty damned fast, so I'd better wrap this train wreck up.

Plus, there's probably not a whole helluva lot of oxygen down there in the cellar. I'll have to let the gang back up before long, or I'll have a lot of 'splaining to do.)

So, I suppose I'd better sign off, and get back to all the normal stuff I do in real life. You know, the usual stuff -- adopting orphans, administering CPR, walking old ladies across the street, that sort of thing. So I'll just wrap this perfectly normal and typical post up, and let you go. Come back soon, folks -- everyone's welcome here at the old blog! Bye now! Take care! Buh-bye!

(Okay, guys, they're gone. I think they bought it, too -- woo hoo! Tequila shots all 'round! Kick ass, baby! That's a '5' for sure!)

If I Can't Be Normal, Can't I at Least Be 'Regular'?

Okay, what's it gonna take to get these Subway people on board?

Honestly, I think I'm doing all I can here. I'm completely holding up my end of the bargain, and doing all the right things. The ball is clearly in their court.

And yet, I'm getting shut out. Ignored. Forgotten. And so I ask, what on earth is it going to take?!

All I want is to be a regular customer. One of the guys, you know? Someone who's at least recognized, if not anticipated. I want them to say things to me like:

'Hey, you're back again!'


'Oh, there he is -- it must be lunchtime!'

or, dare I dream it:

'So, you want the usual?'

Oh, 'the usual' -- how I long to have 'the usual'! I had it -- and outstanding 'regular' treatment, I might add -- at the sandwich shop I frequented at my last job. And I was only there two or three times a week! Still, after a month or so, they knew exactly what I wanted -- chicken cutlet, bread toasted, without marinara, with lettuce, onions, mayo and jalapenos. Sometimes, I wouldn't have to even wait in line to order -- the guys would throw it in the oven for me as soon as I hit the door. It was paradise, I tell you -- paradise!

But those days are gone now. Oh, are they ever. I've been going down to the Subway in the food court next door for two months now -- at least two days a week, and every damned weekday in December -- and what do I have to show for it? Nothing. Not even a glimmer of recognition.

Every day, I wait in line, until I get to the 'Bread and Dressing Girl'. She's Latina, kind of a big girl, unfortunate acne problem... but none of that's really important. All I ever see is her eyes. I look into them every day, as I make my same order, over and over: 'Footlong chicken breast on wheat, please.' I study her for some flash of remembrance, some clue that some day, some magical day, she'll save me the trouble and ask me if that's what I want. Or better yet, just assume that's my order, and begin preparing it, with a little nod and a knowing smile in my direction.

And do I find that glimmer, that reason to hope? Ever? No. Every day, she stares back at me with those bored, tired, dead eyes, and sighs a little sigh, and turns around to get my bread. And does she then throw me a bone, perhaps asking, 'Swiss cheese and mayo, as usual?' Hardly. I get the 'You want cheese, or dressing?' treatment, just like the other schmucks in line... like some rookie, some first-timer, some... some... Subway virgin. I don't deserve this kind of treatment, man.

But I take it. What else can I do? A man's gotta eat, right? It's not like I'm gonna go to McDonalds, or Au Bon Pain -- Subway's my place. I'm gonna 'eat fresh', no matter how unpersonable and cold the heartless assholes who work there are.

Even so, I've still got some hope at that point. That first cold fish is just the beginning of the assembly line -- I've got two, maybe three, more shots to feel like one of the gang. And so, I move on to the 'Condiment Crew'.

Now, depending on what time I make it down for some grub, there's either one or two people working the 'veggie pit'. It's either the professional, managerial Indian guy, or the younger, skate-punk dude, or (during the lunch rush) both. They seem like nice folks -- people I could hang out with over a beer, in the right situation. Plus, they're guys; maybe that bread bitch just has a 'thing' against men. Surely, at least one of these guys will hook me up and remember my order, right? Right?

*Bzzzzzzzt* Noooooo. Every stupid damned time, I bop my way down the line, hoping for some props. Sometimes, I even give them the 'yo, what's up?' head nod that we fellas give each other. And what's the response, each and every mother-bitching time?

'What would you like on your sandwich, sir?'

Weh, weh, weh. 'Wha' would you like on yer sammich... sir?' Fuck you, dude. Where's the love, man?

I know you get a fair number of people in here, but I'm here every damned day, dog. You oughta know what I'd 'like on my sammich, sir' by now -- lettuce, pickles, and all the peppers. Same as yesterday. Same as last week, and the week before that. Same as October, dude. Does anyone else come in here and order like that? I'm guessing, 'no'. So would it be such a gargantuan feat to put a face with an order, and at least -- oh, at the very fucking least -- remember it enough to not ask me, every single time:

'Uh, you want the jalapenos, too?'

Goddammit, yes, I want the jalapenos. Last I checked, there, Skippy, jalapenos were peppers. And I asked for 'all the peppers', so yuh-huh, slap 'em on there, dude. Gimme the greens, and the yellows, and the jalapenos, and stop asking me dumbassed questions!

I said all the peppers, Flubbo -- all of 'em. You got habaneros, or Scotch bonnets, or chipotles lyin' around back there, then give 'em to me! Gimme all the peppers, and if I find out that I can't handle the heat, then I'll change my order next time. I promise you'll be in the clear -- I'm not gonna come storming back with lips on fire, threatening a lawsuit because you gave me jalapenos when I said 'all the peppers'. What I am gonna do, though, is shove one of those loaves of 'hearty Italian' bread up your ass, if you don't remember my order, and stop asking me if 'all the peppers' means 'all the peppers'! I'm already saying way more things to you than I should have to at this point in the game -- don't make this harder on us both, dude.

So, needless to say, I'm in a pretty crappy mood by the time I get to the timid little Indian girl at the cash register. Which is too bad, really, because she seems nice, and I've thought -- between the waves of seething frustration blocking my vision -- that she might even have that faint glimmer of recognition that I'm looking for. Certainly, she doesn't seem all that surprised any more when I ask for 'a medium drink, no chips'. But by the time I get to her, I've given up, and I just listlessly fork over the dough, take my cup and my sandwich, and slink off to mope, and eat, and mope some more. Lunches are just so depressing now.

I'm not sure where all this is gonna end. I figure I'll give these jokers until Christmas to shape up, it being the holiday season and all. But so help me, if I go down there in January, and I get asked what kind of cheese I want, or whether I want the meal special, or if I'm interested in 'the jalapenos, too', I'm gonna go postal on those bitches. I can just see me leaping over the counter, and grabbing one of them by the collar, screaming, 'It's me, dammit! It's me! Don't play dumb with me, you asshole -- you know what I want!!'

So, um, yeah... if I suddenly stop posting after the new year begins, you'll know that I'm probably in jail. Locked up for assault, or under psychiatric observation -- something like that. Which is fine, I guess. At least in those places, they bring the food to you, and you don't have to make any choices or talk to anyone about how you'd like your food prepared. It's not quite the same as being a 'regular', but it's a helluva lot better than the crap I'm putting up with now. I just hope they put jalapenos on the sandwiches in jail. Otherwise, I'm gonna have a whole different set of issues. Bitches!

As the Xerox Turns?

Hey, all -- just a short note (which is all I'm really capable of before ten in the damned morning -- sheesh) to point you towards Kelly at Crimeny, who's pandering for hits offering a cool prize to a lucky someone who takes part in a little contest she's running today. And today only, so get your butts over there -- believe me, I'm not gonna post anything interesting here for a few more hours, so go see what Kelly's up to. You might win something. It'll be fun.

Of course, if you should win said contest, thereby beating me, you'll have to share your loot. I'm looking for twenty percent, folks. So if it's a CD, I get two songs. If it's a book, I'll take the dust jacket and a couple of chapters. A DVD? The cover and the scene with the car chase, or the showdown, or the last-ditch stand, or the big confrontation -- whatever's actually interesting -- that's mine. And ladies, if you win a pair of lacy panties, I get the crotch.

(See, now, this is what sucks about blogging before your brain's really working... I can't decide whether to follow that up with:

'Man, I always end up with the crotch. Bitches!'


'Unless they're already crotchless. Then you can just send me a picture of you trying them on. I do loves to see people enjoying their prizes. Um... so to speak.'


'Just let me know whether you wore the undies before sending the crotch, though. It's fine either way -- I just have to know which wing of my 'Panties and Panty Pieces Museum' to store them in.'

Or probably there's something better than those that I haven't thought of. Man, this shit is just hopeless before ten am. Even when I find a way to set myself up -- turning a perfectly innocent contest into 'panty crotches'? Hel-lo? That's genius! -- I can't follow through.

Bleh. If you come up with a better way to end this nightmare, or you wanna vote for one of my options above, drop me a comment. I'm gonna go soak in the shower until I can think straight again.)

Monday, December 15, 2003
Be Afraid... Be Very, Very, Very Afraid!

So, I'm afraid of a lot of weird things.

I blame my mother for this. Now, I love her and all, but that woman is afraid of everything. Needles, flying, mice -- you name it. You want to really freak her out? Strap syringes onto a bunch of mice and drop them on her from an airplane.

(Okay, so that would freak pretty much anyone out, come to think of it. But you know what I'm saying. Work with me, here. Don't fight it.)

Now, I don't share my mother's phobias, for the most part. I've either rejected or overcome just about every fear that I've heard her confess. Mice? They're cute; no fear. Heights? Went skydiving -- now I'm over it. Menopause? Um... yeah, okay, so we share at least one fear.

(Hey, I'm married now -- you think I'm looking forward to her hormone levels jumping and zipping around like a toddler on rock candy? No, thanks, man. I'm seriously considering 'his and hers' morphine drips for a few years to get us through the whole nasty mess.

And hey, maybe that'll save me from having a mid-life crisis and buying a crazy sports car when I start losing my hair, too. I tell you, folks, this is a plan.)

So, anyway -- let's just say that I've gotten over a lot of bizarre phobias. Of course, for every one that I conquer, two or three more slither in to take its place. I'm doing my best, but my brain is hard-wired to worry, and I'm losing the battle. I couldn't possibly make it through the whole list of things that keep me up at night, but I thought that a selected few might help you understand the screaming willies that I'm always just that close to having. One man's bundle of nightmares is everyone else's evening entertainment, right? (Seriously, isn't that how ER and 24 got started?)

In any case, here are a few things that I worry about on a daily basis, submitted for your snorting pleasure. I've even given each a name, to help us talk clearly about each. (Or to help you describe my various forms of dementia to the men in the white coats when the time comes. It's all good.) Anyway, you enjoy these. Now that I'm thinking about them all at once, I'm gonna go hide under the covers. Let me know when it's safe to come out.

Toepinchyphobia -- This is the moment of anxiety that I have every morning, just as I'm about to slip my feet into my loafers, and I ask myself, 'I wonder whether some big nasty bug crawled into one of my shoes during the night, and is in there now, waiting to latch onto my big toe when I dangle it in there?'

Now, understand, people -- I live in New England. It's not as though I have to worry about giant desert scorpions, or tarantulas, or even big pinchy beetles being in there.

(Well, unless my wife is really pissed at me, and has been going through the 'Exotic Animals of the World' mail order catalog again. But I bought her lots of flowers last year, after finding an anaconda in the shower with me. Or should I say, *ahem* -- another anaconda... um, no. No, I shouldn't. Never mind.)

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that my little piggies are in very little real danger from anything that's likely to sneak into my sneakers. Still, even squishing down on a bug would be pretty icky, whether it managed to fight back or not. So, I'm always very careful about slipping on my shoes.

What's more, all of this paranoid worrying comes screaming back to me -- sometimes (embarrassingly) literally so -- when I feel something stuck in my shoe later in the day. Sure, it occurs to me that I might just have a piece of gravel, or some dirt, or a small child, in there... but in my mind, it's far more likely to be a big spider, or a cockroach, or a pack of fire ants. So I'm compelled to fling my shoe off, willy-nilly, just in case there's some creepy bug getting ready to feast on my footsie. Not among my proudest moments, let me tell you. And I lose a lot of shoes that way, as they go flying through windows, or into crowds, or at my boss. (Um, accidentally, of course. Of course.) All of which makes this one of my more expensive phobias.

Franticurinatophobia -- This is a relatively new fear that I have, and it's limited to the men's rest room at one of the offices I work in. It all has to do with the way the room is set up.

See, there's a shower stall in the bathroom, just to the right of the door. The back wall of the stall faces the door, creating a 'tunnel' for about four or five feet as you walk in the door. Just past the shower stall, along the wall to the right, is the urinal. In other words, you've got to walk along the back of the concrete shower stall, then take a hard right turn around a blind corner to get to the pisser.

So, of course, there are two really bad things that could happen here. Or, more correctly, one really bad thing and one really, really bad thing.

The lesser of two evils, of course, is that I'll run in there one day, bladder full-to-bursting with water or Pepsi or last night's brewskis, desperately needing to relieve myself. And I'll burst in the door, unzipping as I go, and careen around the corner, already aiming for the bowl... and someone will be there, already occupying the space. If I'm really lucky, I'll be able to stop myself, and I'll make it to the stall -- hopefully empty -- at the far side of the room, without any 'spillage'. If I'm only moderately lucky, I'll manage not to wee all over the guy's back, but I may not be able to say the same for the walls, sinks, floor, and ceiling between the urinal and the stall. On the other hand, if I'm unlucky that day, then I won't catch myself in time, and I'll soak some poor dude's ass with pee. (Hey, once the floodgates are open, they're damned hard to stop, people. You guys know what I'm talking about.)

Now, I've never been in that situation myself, but I've got to imagine that it's hard to come back from accidentally pissing on somebody's butt. I'm not sure that Hallmark makes an 'Oh, how I wish I hadn't whizzed on your heinie' card, or that there's any kind of present that'll make up for that sort of, um, indiscretion. I'd probably have to quit my job, right there, and quite possibly move out of the Boston area, lest I risk running into the guy ever again. I might have to move to Montana or Utah somewhere, and live out the rest of my days in an isolated Unabomber shack, just to be sure. What could you possibly say to someone after that?

And all of that falls under the 'lesser' of two evils. The greater evil, obviously, is to be the person at the stall when the... unpleasantness occurs, and having a very unlucky -- and very desperately full -- person come in behind you. If the embarrassment and shame of being the 'pisser' is more or less complete and unforgettable, then the sheer creepy horror of being the 'pissee' is no less intense. Think about it. Your ass would never feel clean again. Is it any wonder that I don't sleep well at night?

Nasofolliculophobia -- I've stared, transfixed and powerless to look away, at plenty of people's dangly nose hairs. Far more than I'd care to count, in fact. So I know, in my heart of hearts, that if my nostril locks were to be caught protruding from my proboscis, I wouldn't be alone. It happens all the time. Such things are tolerated, if not downright overlooked.

However. If you've ever been caught, as I have, like a deer in headlights, gazing at someone else's nasty nose fuzz, then you know that you'd never want to subject someone else to that ungodly sight. Which means, if you're again like me, that every itch and tickle -- any sensation at all, really -- in the vicinity of your nose throws you into a panic of doubt about your nostrillary appearance. Is there a hair showing? Or worse, several? Could there be a whole thicket of the things poking out to say hello and wave at passersby? Is there a nose hair jailbreak going on that I don't know about?

All of these questions and more run through my head, leading me to do the only thing I think may ease my mind -- I assign my fingers to perform 'perimeter checks', as discreetly as possible, to see whether there's anything poking out of my nose. I don't venture up the nostrils, but I do rub along the holes as best I can, hoping to find any rogue follicles in need of trimming. Or wose yet, pulling. Youch!

Of course, all that checking just wiggles everything around a little more, and the itching and tickling continues, and so I have to check again. And again, and again, each time making certain that the last bit of action didn't *sproing* loose a hair into the open. It's a vicious circle, and the only way out is to find a mirror, do a no-touch visual check, and hope that the thing doesn't itch any more. But the alternative is to be 'that guy', walking around with jungle foliage sprouting out of my nose, and I'm not going there. And if it takes an irrational, obsessive fear to make sure it doesn't happen, then so be it. I'll take (another) one for the team, so you don't have to look at that shit.

So, there you have it -- just a small taste of the things that keep me awake at night. Hopefully, if nothing else, this has helped to show you how reasonable and well-adjusted you are, by comparison. And if not -- if you share these same ridiculous fears, or (*gasp!*) have even worse phobias -- then... well, you've got even more to worry about now. You're as screwed up as I am, or even screweder.

And if that doesn't cause you to worry, then I don't know what the hell will. Mercy.

Sunday, December 14, 2003
Are You Ready for Some Snowballs? (aka, 'All My Rowdy Friends Are Freezing Their 'Nads Off Tonight!)

I went to the New England Patriots game today.

It's only the second regular-season Pats game that I've been to, and -- if I'm counting correctly, for once -- only the sixth pro football game I've attended at all. So it's a pretty special occasion, I'd say.

(Hey, I know people who've had six children or more, so each football game I've attended is more special than those births, right? You know, proportionally. No? Relatively? Theoretically? No?

Eh, what do you know, anyway? You're probably one of those 'seven kid' people. Weirdo.)

Anyway, it's still a thrill to watch a pigskin showdown in the flesh.

(That's me 'in the flesh', by the way, not the players. I'm not sure it would be a 'thrill', exactly, to see a bunch of oversized corn-fed linemen, down in the trenches without their uniforms on. Some of these monsters push four hundred pounds -- without all their clothes holding that flab in, their 'three-point stances' would turn into six- or seven-point nightmares, as the rolls of cellulite from their thighs and stomachs and ankles and... um, elsewheres sag to the ground. Try and picture that. Go ahead; I dare ya.

While we're at it, though, I should say that 'in the flesh' is just a figure of speech, too. I may be at the game 'in person', or 'live as it happens', or 'in the building', but I am certainly not literally there 'in the flesh'. I'm no offensive lineman, but I am 'offensive'. Oh, yes -- ain't nobody wanna see my rosy-cheeked, pearly-white ass dangling around at the stadium.

Oh, I'm sure I've got a 'money-maker' in there somewhere, but I'm not gonna shake it in public. Or private, for that matter. It's actually rather high on my list of priorities to keep the shaking going on back there to a minimum. And I almost wrote, 'bare minimum', but I think we covered that ground -- and my ass -- already. So let's move on.)

Where the hell was I, anyway? Ah, the football game. Righty-ho.

So, today was a 'guy's game'. Four of us boyfolks (damn, that sounds gay! Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course... but remind me never to use that around the other guys, or they'll kick my ass) were scheduled to attend, while the two wives, one (newly-minted) fiancee, and one girlfriend that we have between us were to find their own entertainment for the day.

(Oh, and just in case there's any confusion -- that's four pairs, with one girl and one guy each. It's not like one of the dudes is hogging two or three of the women. This ain't Utah, folks.

And while we're at it, don't any of you pervs get all sticky over that 'we have between us' line, either. Four pairs, one of each gender, no mixing and matching like a bunch of lubed-up Garanimals. This ain't Vegas, either. Or Amsterdam, or General Hospital. We clear on all that? Good.)

Anyway, we ended up being just a threesome (why, oh why do I use words like that, just when I've got the pervs under control? Now I'm gonna have to hose 'em down all over again...), because one of the guys decided he was too sick to go. Or something -- I never quite understood his excuse, really. Something about he just got over being sick, or he doesn't want to get sick, or he was once sick, and didn't really enjoy it... I dunno. He's a fruitcake. Forget him. I won't mention him again.

But the three remaining Musketeers got the day started at nine this morning. Which was painful, let me assure you. Nine am is approximately two and a half, maybe three, hours before my ideal Sunday would get rolling. I don't like to see nine o'clock on a weekday, much less a made-for-rest Sunday. Now, add to that the fact that I had more than a little tequila last night, and let's just say I was struggling a bit when my wife got me out of bed.

I got up and showered, though. Seriously, what choice did I have? Otherwise, they'd have left me there, sleeping peacefully but without a game ticket. And I couldn't have that, so I schlepped out of the sack and got my ass in gear. Fifteen sleepy minutes later, I was ready to plan my outfit for the day.

And plan I did, because plan I had to do. (Apparently, I also had to write like Yoda talks for a little while. But I think it's over now. Thankfully.) Anyway, as I've mentioned several times before, I'm not particularly a fashionista. I wear jeans or shorts and rugbys, and don't give my ensemble much thought in the morning, or ever. Ah, but today was different. Not because several thousand people were going to see me as I moved through the parking lots and stands at the game. No, no, Nanette. Rather, it was because the temperature at game time was several thousand degrees below fricking zero, and I was gonna be out there in it, among the elements, with nothing but sixteen layers of clothes to protect my fragile widdle body.

So, I planned, and I dressed, from the bottom up. I put on a pair of boxers, as usual. At that point, I'd have liked to strap on some thermal undies, but alas, I have none. I briefly considered stealing a pair or two of my wife's panty hose, but decided against it. If I were playing in the game, perhaps. (Hey, if it's good enough for Broadway Joe...) But to just watch the game? Nuh-uh. So, I slipped on a second set of boxers -- also known as 'double-bagging my boys' -- and hoped that would be enough. From that important decision, I was on a roll.

Two pairs of socks. Short-sleeved T-shirt, long-sleeved tee. Jeans, sweatshirt, another sweatshirt. Then the coat, gloves, scarf, and earmuffs. Oh, and shoes. (Before the gloves, of course -- ever tried to tie shoelaces with gloves on? It's like playing Operation with salad tongs. Takes a full year off your life every time you try. No foolin'.)

So, anyway, not the most well-planned cold-repelling outfit, but it's the best I could do on short notice. (And at nine in the damned morning. With a smallish hangover. I'm surprised I managed to get dressed at all.) In particular, I found that I was rather lacking in the 'leg protection' area -- all I had between my beautiful knees and the cold, harsh elements was a thin layer of threadbare denim. But it was the best I could muster, so I soldiered on, and we three football kings made our way to the game.

We spent about two hours tailgating in a parking lot, and then three-plus hours inside the stadium, all the while exposed to the wintry New England weather. And I've got to admit -- I don't know whether it was the excitement, or the adrenaline, or just the novelty of it all... but I froze my fucking ass off out there. Fucking hell, it was cold! We were in the car for twenty minutes on the ride home before I could feel my fingers, or my damned toes, or -- especially -- my poor, frosty knees. It was unreal. And then, just in case any of us were actually becoming accustomed to the cold, the lords of football climatology saw fit to dump six inches of damned snow onto us during the second half. Whee-frickin'-ee-frickin'-ee. Ooh, ooh -- can we do it again? Oh please, oh please, oh pretty please, can we? I think there are still some parts of my ass that aren't entirely black with frostbite -- let's do it all over again!

Okay, I'm kidding. Mostly. It was as cold as Bill Gates' evil dark soul, or the shattered remnants of Joan Rivers' career. And I did have numbness in all of the extremities I mentioned above, plus one that -- *ahem* -- I'd rather not mention right now, though I would like to see it again soon. (It's okay, boy. We're warmer now; it's safe. Come on out, little dude -- I'll keep you safe. I promise.)

On the other hand, it was a hell of a lot of fun, too. We had good food and beer in the parking lot, then a great game in the stadium, and an easy Patriots win. Hell, I even got to bug by buddies whenever a Syracuse alum made a play on the field.

(Which was early and often, for the vanishingly few of you who would actually give a damn. Donovin Darius had several tackles, and Kevin Johnson led all receivers in the game with five catches for eighty-plus yards and a TD. Go, Orangemen!

And if you don't give a damn... well, you're not alone. The guys I was with didn't, either, and I annoyed the steamy piss out of them with 'cuse trivia. Much more than I'm annoying you right now. They almost left me at the game, in fact -- I'd have had to hitchhike home in a blizzard, so I finally shut up. So just know that you're in good company -- almost nobody cares about this shit. Just think of it as my way of bringing all of the rest of you closer together.

Yeah, didn't think of that, did you? See? It's all about you, even when it's not. Keep that in mind, folks -- other blogs don't love you like I do. I'm special.)

So, that was my day, or at least the biggest part of it. Five hours of excitement and icicles, football and freeziness, cold beers and even colder berries. But now that it's all said and done, I'm finally warm, and I've still got my game-day memories. So the experience was more good than bad, and -- assuming I don't wake up with some sort of whooping cough flu tomorrow -- I'd do it all over again.

You know, once my little fella comes back out to play. I think he needs a few weeks of warmth and TLC before he's exposed to that sort of cold again. Maybe I'll even get him into a sauna, or steam room, or something. He deserves some warmth for a while, after being such a trooper today. And I'll tell him just that, if I ever see him again. He retreated pretty far up there, though -- it was way cold, and I was out there a long time. I just hope I don't have to use the plunger to coax him out. That's never fun. Bleh.

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