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Charlie/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Massachusetts/Watertown, speaks English. Eye color is hazel.
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Saturday, December 27, 2003
Let's Just Say She Didn't 'Hang It By My Chimney With Care', All Right?

Okay, this time I mean it. I'm calling a blog holiday today.

Three hours of driving, three huge meals, another (much-appreciated) round of gift-exchanging, and a sick wife (who seems intent on giving her wretched disease to me) later... and I find that I'm all blogged out for the second day in a row. Sorry.

So get out there and do some post-Christmas (or after-Chanukah, or mid-Kwanzaa) revelling, and take it easy for another day, just like I did yesterday, and am doing again today.

('Easy', as always, being a relative term, of course. Hell, I wrote more yesterday to explain that I wasn't going to blog than many people post in a whole frigging week's worth of entries. But if I'm not writing a damned opus, worthy of division into chapters, a glossary, and a page of references, then I don't consider it real 'writing'. For me, anyway. Berkeley Breathed can make me laugh with three words and a picture of Opus with a bent-up nose. Douglas Adams can have me snorting OJ out my nose in a paragraph.

Alas, it takes me a bit longer to get warmed up. Sorry to make you suffer.)

Anyway, my wife is zonked out on the couch, no doubt dripping snot, or drool, or both, on the pillows. Meanwhile, I'm starting to feel like I have a hamster in my throat.

(Yeah, most people would say 'frog', but this feels distinctly fuzzier than a frog. It's definitely a hamster, or a gerbil. Maybe even a woodchuck. It's starting to taste a bit gamey, too. I'm pretty sure that doesn't bode well for my health over the next couple of days.)

So, I'm afraid the daily dose of drivel is going to be curtailed again today. I do hope you'll keep checking in until I'm home, and rested, and well enough to bring you the convoluted reams of crap that you've come to expect.

(And which you so richly deserve, of course. But hey, I'm not here to point fingers about who was on Santa's 'naughty' list, now, am I? Hell, I've gotten nothing but coal for the past twenty-five years. 'Jolly Saint Nick', my hairy ass.

You can suck a reindeer turd, you grudge-holding overstuffed elf. You hear me, Claus?!)

Okay, sorry about that. I'm not really quite so bitter -- that's probably just the crazed homocidal virus in my lungs talking. So lest I piss off any other holiday icons, like the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, I think I'll just take some NyQuil and hit the sack. I've still got another full day's worth of glad-handing and nodding-and-smiling to get through with the family, so I'm gonna need my rest. If I go up to Grandma's with this sour puss on, she'll rip me a new one. Granny's a sweet old lady, and she makes some mean Christmas cookies, but come in her house talking smack, and she'll bitch-slap your ass right into the yard.

The old lady doesn't fuck around come winter -- you come in with your Christmas spirit thang goin' on, or you don't come in at all. I learned that the hard way a couple of years ago, let me tell you. I finally recovered around March or so, but it was not a pleasant winter that year. Let's just say I'll never sit down quite right -- or look at candy canes the same way -- ever again. Think about that when you're hanging the little bastards on your tree next year. Those mothers should be registered as lethal weapons, man... and Granny uses the curved kind, too. Those things hurt. Twice!

I'll see you tomorrow. I'm off to get a few precious hours of antihistamine-induced sleep. Nighty-night, folks!

Friday, December 26, 2003
Dammit, I'm Tired... and Sean Connery Is Calling

Hey, all -- sorry to leave you hanging for a whole day, but I just don't have the energy right now. The wife and I are about to embark tomorrow on the last leg of our whirlwind tour, and we've been whizzing around non-stop all day today.

(I'm not saying we were 'whizzing' all over the place, mind you. My wife did go to the bathroom several times -- she really can't hold her iced tea, you know -- but I'm pretty sure she confined her whizzing to a fairly small area. As did I, come to think of it. I was hoping to pee on my mother-in-law's cat, but I was never able to catch him alone when I had to go. There's always next year, I suppose.)

Anyway, we're getting up early in the morning to go back to my parents' place, so we spent the day seeing every person in my wife's family, plus most of the people who've ever heard of her family, and a couple of folks who once sat in the same movie theater with one of her aunts, or something. That's how it seemed, anyway, and I'm pooped. And in eight hours or less, we've got to do it all over again. Happy fucking happy. Joy goddamned joy.

Okay, that's a bit harsh. It's really not all that bad -- I'm just tired and cranky. It's possible that I need my diaper changed, as well. Or maybe a bottle -- I really can't say until I get down there and have a good sniff around the place. But that's not the point. The point is that I've had little time -- and now have even less energy -- to blog. And so, I'm going to leave you tonight with this piddly little post. Don't hate me because my family's so fricking large and exhausting.

Plus, I've been fortunate enough to find SpikeTV's James Bond festival, and have been watching Ian Fleming classics the past couple of days. Right now, there's a Sean Connery 'golden oldie' on that I'm not sure I've ever seen before in it's entirety, and I'm thinking it might be nice to slip off to sleep in the middle of that.

(All the Bond babes and funky gadgets give me the most interesting dreams. So much better than, say, Iron Chef or Roseanne. Those just give me indigestion, though for wildly different reasons.)

So, if you'll excuse me, it's time to put on my jammies and get into bed. I've got to be well-rested for tomorrow -- the wife and I will be entertaining my maternal grandparents in the afternoon.

(Where 'entertaining' may mean any or all of 'conversing with', 'eating with', 'propping up', 'tucking in', or 'cleaning the bodily fluids from'. Did I happen to mention 'happy fucking happy'? I did? Super.)

Anyway, I hope those of you who are faithfully keeping up with me during the holidays aren't too disappointed with such a short entry. I'll try to do better tomorrow, I promise. And I hope those folks not tuning in over the break come back after the new year -- the hits are starting to swindle over the past few days. I'm going to trust that it's just a Christmas thing, and not something I said, or did, or that tattoo of all of your names that I haven't gotten yet. Really, folks, I'm working on that -- I'll get there eventually. I'm using all of this 'family time' to build up my tolerance for pain. And if the past couple of days are any indication, I should have no problem with a tattoo of any kind. Hell, given what I've been through, I think I could withstand a rabid tiger mauling, or being dropped off the Chrysler Building, perhaps. Apparently, I'm frigging Superman, and never knew it.

Okay, I don't know what any of that really means. I'm making even less sense than usual, which is a good sign that I need to get to bed. Or get started on that book that my wife suggested I should write, one of the two. But I'm tired as hell, so I'll go for the former and hit the sack while 'Bond, James Bond' is still on. Sean Connery's not my most favoritest Bond, but he sure knows how to kick ass. See you folks tomorrow!

Thursday, December 25, 2003
What Christmas Means to Mini-Me

Well, folks, it's Christmas Day here, and I don't know how much time I'll have to post, with the eggnog and the wrapping paper and the jingly bells flying all 'round. Family duties, you understand. So I thought I'd bring in a guest poster, to keep you entertained for the day, while I flit to and fro, playing nice and trying to secretly get hammered along the way. (So far, no luck, but I'm still hopeful. All of these people can't possibly be sober, can they?)

Anyway, I couldn't find a real guest poster on Christmas, and on such short notice, so I've decided to try something radical. Just this once, because it's Christmas, I'm going to let my inner child tell you what he thinks of the holiday season. Unfettered, unadulterated, and no holds barred. Now, I'm sure you wouldn't guess it, given the drivel that spews forth from my keyboard every day, but I actually usually censor my inner child, just a bit. What you see isn't usually quite as horrific as the first version, believe it or not. I know -- scary, isn't it?

But Christmas is for the kids, and I do have an awful lot of things (or a lot of awful things, depending on how you look at it) to do today, and he's the only one available. So you're stuck with him. At least you only have to put up with my inner child for a day; I hear the voices in my head all the time. Let's see how you like it for a change.

In any case, I hope you enjoy this look at Christmas through the eyes of my younger, more immature self. Well, I hope a little, anyway -- mostly I don't really care. I just scored a flask of bourbon, so my main concern right now is to find some nog to hide it in. Screw Calgon -- alcohol, take me away!

The Yuletides of My Youth

by 'Little Charlie'
(No, not that 'little Charlie'; get your mind out of the damned gutter for once, would you?)

Hi. My name is Charlie. I'm firty-fwee years old.

Okay, not really. I live inside another Charlie, and he's thirty-three. But I never got older than nine or ten years old. Mommy says that's because I didn't eat my aparagus. One time, I told Mommy to suck my asparagus. I don't get to talk to Mommy directly any more.

It's Christmas today, and I get to play on the computer like a big boy. 'Old Charlie' told me to talk about Christmas time, and presents, and Santa. Christmas is fun!

He also said that I shouldn't click on the little icon on his computer that says 'Hot Three-Way Action Pictures'. But I did, anyway. It was weird. Were those people fighting? Maybe they were mad, 'cause they lost all their clothes. Maybe it was a wrestling match -- they didn't have enough to do tag-team, though. Maybe since there were two girls, it was more fair to only have one boy. I don't know. I don't think it has anything to do with Christmas.

So, Christmas is the best time of the year! I remember when 'Old Charlie' was little, too, and we were so excited about Christmas together! We would always help put the Christmas tree up -- that's when you knew it was almost Santa time. Of course, Daddy always says that we didn't really 'help' -- we would hang an ornament, and then break a couple, and try to stuff tinsel up the dog's butt, and Daddy would have to give us a 'time out'. I don't really remember all of that, but I'm pretty sure the dog would have been happier with tinsel up her butt. Everybody needs a little Christmas spirit.

And then, we could listen to Christmas music and carols for the next couple of weeks, until Christmas Eve. Or at least, we did, until Daddy told me that listening to Christmas carols makes your ears bleed. I don't know if I believe it, though. The next year, I stuffed cotton in my ears and played 'Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer' real loud, and I didn't see anybody's ears bleeding. Dad's face got really, really red, though, until he found the radio and broke the record in half. Maybe he was bleeding on the inside. I dunno.

Anyway, things would really get exciting on Christmas Eve. There'd always be a party, and games, and presents, and other kids. And it was all family, so everybody had to pretend to like each other for once. People even spoke to weird cousin Judy, who Mommy said was 'three cards short of a deck'. I told cousin Judy I was sorry, 'cause I lost some cards once, and I couldn't even play solitare, or Go Fish. She just looked at me with her one good eye and drooled a little, but I think she understood. Cousin Judy always was a little hard to figure out. I think these days she's in something called 'Congress', but I don't know much about that. Sounds like a good place for her, from what I can tell, though.

The Christmas Eve parties were always a lot of fun. Me and the cousins would go off and play, and we'd have chips and cookies and sandwiches, and even a whole bowl of Christmas punch! The adults would all eat the same food we did, but they had a separate bowl of punch. Mommy said there were 'spikes' or something in it, which didn't sound very tasty to me. Adults are weird.

I think spikes make you really sleepy, too, because after a while, all the people drinking that punch started stumbling and falling down and acting like cousin Judy a lot. One year, they even got the bowls mixed up, and we got the punch with spikes in it. I think they must have been spikes, anyway, because they burned going down my throat. Still, I wasn't about to stop drinking it. I don't remember getting sleepy, but I sure wet my pants a lot that year. Mommy said that wasn't what 'big boys' do, but I told her I was only a freshman in college. I didn't have to be a big boy yet. And 'Old Charlie' told her to 'step away from the goddamned punch bowl'. 'Old Charlie' always was a mean punch drinker.

But the most exciting part of the Christmas party was when everyone left, and we would get ready for Santa Claus! All the aunts and uncles would put their shirts back on, and stumble out, and pee their names in the snow for us to see. Mommy said that was our own little guestbook, out on the lawn. Some of my uncles could even write their phone numbers, too, if they'd had enough spiky punch! Uncle Tommy even tried writing something called the 'Gettysburg Address' once, but he only got halfway through, and fell over into the middle of it, with his head right between the 'four score' and 'seven years ago' parts. Nobody would kiss Uncle Tommy under the mistletoe after that.

After everyone was gone, Mommy and Daddy would clean up, and I'd get a snack ready for Santa Claus. I used to think that Santa liked milk and cookies, but Mommy told me that Santa is something called 'lactose intolerant', and that Mrs. Claus doesn't like it when Santa drinks milk, because it makes him 'fart like a whole herd of reindeer'. She also said that Santa likes to give Mrs. Claus 'Dutch ovens', but I thought Santa lived at the North Pole. Mommy doesn't make much sense when she's been drinking 'big people punch' sometimes.

Anyway, since Santa couldn't have milk, I'd always leave him beer. Mommy said to only leave him one can, but when I asked Daddy to help me get the can out of the plastic ring, he'd always tell me to just leave the whole six-pack. He said the reindeer liked beer, too, and that they'd rather have pretzels or potato chips, instead of cookies. Apparently, one year Santa even asked Daddy if I could leave him a roast beef sandwich and a bag of Cheetos. I thought the roast beef might scare the reindeer, but Daddy said it wouldn't, and to just make the damned sandwich. Daddy was always looking out for Santa like that -- they must be really good friends.

The hardest part about Christmas was always getting to sleep. I'd go to bed around ten or eleven, but I'd lay awake for a while, listening for hoofsteps on the roof. I never heard any, but I don't really see how I could've, with all the giggling and squeaking coming from Mommy and Daddy's room. One year, I went to ask them to keep it down, but it looked like they were pretty busy. I guess they were wrestling, too, or just mad at each other because they lost all their clothes. That seems to happen to adults a lot, come to think of it. You'd think they could Velcro their pants to their legs, or something.

Finally, though, I'd get to sleep, and dream of all the cool presents that I was gonna get. I didn't ever dream of 'sugar plums', 'cause I don't know what those are. Everybody always talks about 'visions of sugar plums', but I've never seen one of the things. And what's so exciting about plums, anyway? It's not even a good fruit! Maybe 'sugar oranges', or 'sugar strawberries' I could see, but 'sugar plums'? I never did get that.

Then, at five in the morning or so, I'd wake up, and get Mommy and Daddy to go open presents. They would always pretend to be sleeping, or sick, or something called 'hungover', but I knew they were just kidding around. Nobody's ever sick or sleepy at five o'clock on Christmas morning! Silly adults! You're not foolin' me.

So, I'd drag them downstairs to the tree, and we'd see what Santa brought. It would always be fun -- there'd be toys, and games, and sports equipment... Santa wasn't so good with the stuff that needed to be put together, though. My metal toys that read 'some assembly required' on the box were usually bent, and my bicycles would have grease, or blood, or Santa sweat all over them. I always thought it was weird that Daddy would have a bandage or bruise or sling on Christmas morning, too. I always figured he got it while he and Mommy were fighting over how they lost their clothes.

Christmas would always be lots of fun until the afternoon, when we had to go see the rest of the family again. That was never good. For one thing, I couldn't take all my new toys with me to Grandma's house, so I'd have to pick out just a couple, and leave the rest behind. Then, at Grandma's, all the cousins and other kids would want to play with me. Well, they said it was with me, but I know they just wanted to scarf all my toys, 'cause mine were store-bought. Lousy stinkin' poor cousins, anyway. Get your own toys! Then we'd open all our 'practical' presents there -- socks, and jackets, and packs of tighty whitey underwear. That's not Christmas -- that's a back-to-school sale! I love Grandma, but her Christmas parties sucked. And there was only one kind of punch, so I don't think the adults liked it much, either.

Anyway, that's how Christmas used to go, back in the good old days, when me and 'Old Charlie' were about the same age. But he keeps getting older, and Christmas gets more complicated, and now he drinks the spiky punch every year, too, and acts like weird cousin Judy. It's fun, in a way, I guess -- and I do like writing our name in the snow -- but it's just not the same. Now we don't leave anything for Santa to eat, or get up early to open presents, or get much of anything but 'practical' gifts, anyway. Well, practical to me, anyway. 'Old Charlie' seems to like stereo speakers and new shirts and those little tubes of strawberry-flavored 'Love Lube'... but what good are those things to me? Gimme a cap gun, or a board game, or GI Joes or something. Where's the good stuff these days?

So, that's my Christmas story. I hope your holiday turns out well this year. That's no matter what you celebrate, whether it's Christmas, or Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, or 'Wild 'n' Woolly Wiccan Winter' -- whatever it is, I hope you get just what you want. Just try and save room to wish for something for your inner child, too. Maybe a baseball glove, or a party game, or some nice holiday candy.

Because we're still here, sitting inside you and taking whatever scraps you give us. Throw us a bone this year, okay? Just a little something to keep us happy, and to help us both remember how simple and fun things used to be. Seriously. Otherwise, we're gonna get you up at five in the damned morning and make you wet your pants in public. Don't screw around with us. You know what they say -- inner children can be so cruel. Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 24, 2003
How Does That Rip Van Winkle Bastard Do It, Anyway?

I've noticed a disturbing trend recently: I'm not nearly as good as I used to be at sleeping.

Now, I wouldn't have thought that lying down and losing consciousness is one of those skills that would slip away with age. Really, how hard can frigging sleeping be? I've heard people describe something trivially simple as being 'as easy as falling off a log'. Well, shit -- sleeping's not only that easy, but if you can manage to land on your damned head when you slip off the log, it's self-actualizing, too. Fall off a log just right, and bam! -- you're sleeping. It doesn't get any damned easier than that.

And yet, I struggle. I'm not really sure why, but sleep just doesn't come as easily as it used to, either on the front end or the back end.

(Of course, if you've ever tried catching forty winks on a 'back end', then you know that's not a terribly enjoyable experience, even if you can get to sleep. All you do is dream of ass all night long. And yeah, I know -- that sounds like it would be a good thing, but trust me, it's not. Even ass gets old, after a while.)

What really concerns me, though, is sleeping in. Or rather, not sleeping in, even on weekends or, as I've recently discovered, on Christmas break. This is deeply troubling, to say the least. For the first thirty-plus years of my life, I was a world-class morning loafer. I could wake up at eight am, check the time, and roll over with a grin, knowing that I had much sleep left in me. At nine, I might come up for air again, give the clock a derisive snort, and snooze well into the double-digit morning hours, or later. I mean, I was a fricking pro, folks -- no matter the bedtime, or the distractions, or the noise level, I was one kick-ass sleeper.

But lately... well, let's just say that I haven't seen ten am from sleep-encrusted, still-bedded eyes for a long time. Even on weekends, I'm up by nine, nine-thirty at the latest. Nine-fricking-thirty! That wasn't even the 'home stretch', back in the day. I used to laugh at nine-thirty on Saturday mornings; it wasn't even an option to get up before eleven or so.

And frankly, why the hell would I get up early on weekends, or Christmas break, anyway? Nothing useful happens until at least noon -- football games, basketball games, keg parties... these are all things that start after the magical noon hour. It does me no damned good to be awake mid-morning, when there's nothing good to do. I end up watching the boring 'outdoorsy' crap that's on ESPN, or getting sucked into household chores, or eating English frigging muffins. Let me tell you, people, there is nothing even remotely redeeming about watching 'Joe-Bob's Fishin' Hole Extravaganza' while buffing your floors and munching on a stale hunk of styrofoam and calling it 'breakfast'. There's not enough tequila in the world to make that nightmare feel right.

And yet, that's where I find myself, time and again -- awake and tragically conscious when I have no right, or reason, or desire to be. And I've tried everything to fix it -- staying up until three or four in the morning, running up and down the stairs until I'm exhausted, even drinking 'sleeping draughts' of NyQuil and chloroform before hitting the sack. And none of it has worked -- I still wake up at eight or nine, and have to go through three hours or more of horrible, distasteful morning before the tolerable part of the day gets underway. There's got to be some answer.

Or maybe my sleeping prowess is gone forever. That's a scary thought -- maybe I've lost it for good. Shit, that would suck. I don't know what the hell I'd do, if I couldn't sleep in ever again. I'd have to find some way to entertain myself during the dark hours before noon on Saturday and Sunday. Or Christmas Eve, for that matter. I was up early today, too, and I can only twiddle my thumbs for so long before my brain starts trying to seep out of my ears to escape.

(I often have to jam something in there to hold my brain in. Traitorous bastard organ, anyway. On a really bad day, it'll make a break for another orifice, and I'll have to plug up my nostrils, or even my mouth. My wife has walked into the bathroom more than once to find me there, with Q-Tips jammed in my ears and nose, and my hairbrush in my mouth.

I do my best to explain that it's necessary, to make sure my brain doesn't leak out. Of course, she never understands. She just nods and smiles, and pats me on the head, and says, 'Yes, dear. Of course, dear. Unfortunately, I think it's too late. There, there.'

Humph. What kind of talk is that, anyway? Maybe I'll jam one a Q-Tip into one of her orifi one day, and see how she likes it. Feh.)

Anyway, it looks like I'm not going to be back to my deliciously slothy ways any time soon. I've been exhausted and sleep-deprived the past few days, with zero reason to be awake and functional before noon, but I still haven't slept in, even once. I'll have to work on this once I get back home; maybe sleeping pills or sharp blows to the head before bed will work. Something's got to give -- I'm starting to get desperate. If I have to watch one more goddamned goober on early-morning ESPN sneak up on a pheasant, or yank a bass out of some crap-encrusted lake, I'm gonna lose it. I'll have to keep those Q-Tips and hairbrush in place permanently, or risk losing my brain altogether. And if there's one thing I hate more than crappy TV and bland breakfast food, it's the taste of hairbrush in the morning. I have got to beat this damned thing.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003
The 'Truth' Will Set You Free

If I've learned one thing during seven-plus years of marriage, it's that honesty is very important. You should always tell the truth to your husband or wife, no matter the situation or circumstances.

Still... there's nothing that says you can't take a moment first to decide exactly what the truth is. Everything's relative, after all.

This is where my freshman philosophy class comes in so handy. (Thank you, otherwise-worthless liberal arts education!) You see, there have been some very smart people in the world who have believed -- and have taken the time and effort to confirm, logically -- that there is an awful lot of uncertainty in the world. And it's this uncertainty that allows us spouses (oh, who am I kidding -- men; husbands and boyfriends and fiancees) to both tell the 'truth' and manage to avoid being beaten about the head and shoulders with a purse or high-heeled shoe.

(Or worse, those big-assed sandally clog things -- what the hell are those called? 'Lady Birkenstocks'? 'Birkenchicks'? Whatever. Anyway, those damned things are heavy!)

Observe how this truth-telling thing works, gentlemen. It may save you a lot of grief. Remember, for a statement to be 'true', all we have to do is convince ourselves that it's true -- and let's face it: we're not the sharpest cheddars on the cheese tree, if you know what I mean. (And if you do, please tell me -- I don't know where the hell that came from. Yeeks.)

Anyway, here's how I use the 'truth' to get by in my marraige. Hopefully, it'll give you some ideas on how to improve your lives, too. Let's have a look, shall we?

Example 1: Did 'You' Do It?

Let's say you get home one evening, before your lady friend, and you find a six-pack of beer chilling in the fridge. And let's further say that you've had a hard day, and you're a bit parched, so you decide to have one. And then another. And another, until before you know it -- suds gone. The beer has disappeared. Fine.

Now, your honey gets home, and -- because she's cool like that -- she decides she's in the mood for a brewski, too. So she opens the fridge, and finds... nothing. But she knows there was just beer in there this morning. So, her next move will be to come find you, whereever you're sitting (or, by this point, passed out), and she'll say, with hands on hips:

'Hey, who drank all that beer?'

'Who drank that beer'? Who, indeed? Well, don't answer right away, fellas -- you really need to study this question in depth before you offer a response.

First, the question's not really specific about which beer 'that' beer is. Let's be fair -- she's probably got a lot of things going on. She could be talking about any beer. You can't be certain that you drank that beer, right? Even if she asks about 'that beer in the fridge' -- what's the fridge, anyway? I know a lot of fridges, frankly, and 'that' beer could be in any of 'em. Who's to say, really?

Furthermore, you have to ask yourself -- quickly, before she gets suspicious about what's going on that little mind of yours -- did you really drink the beer? Assuming you concede the point that the beer in question is 'that' beer -- and you don't concede that, men; this is purely hypothetical at this point -- but assuming that's the right beer, how can you really know you drank it?

Let's borrow a bit of information from philosophy (and, more recently, Hollywood) to help us out here. There's an old thought experiment that asks this question: can we really, truly be certain that we're living the life we think we're living? Meaning, is it really 'me' that looks like 'me', and goes to 'my' job, and drives 'my' car, and drank 'that' beer? Isn't it at least possible that we're all just disembodied brains in vats somewhere, being electrically stimulated in a billion different ways a second to believe that 'we' are who 'we' think 'we' are? Is there any way you could possibly disprove that, without a shadow of a doubt?

Put another, perhaps more familiar, way -- how can we know we're not in the 'Matrix', or something like it? All of us living 'our' lives, when what we're actually doing is lying in a vat somewhere, 'dreaming' our experiences into existence? Really, can you guarantee that's not happening? 'Cause I sure can't.

Which makes it not only sly, but absolutely true for me to reply to the question above by saying:

'Well, gosh, hon... I don't know who drank that beer you're talking about. Really, it's a complete mystery.'

I think you can see how powerful this technique can be, folks. To thine own self be true... but only once thine own self is convinced of whatever ridiculous thing that you want your self to believe. Pretty cool, huh? Let's do another one.

Example 2: Is It 'Really' Going to Happen?

This is an illustration of what service providers call 'managing expectations'. Let's say that you've promised to do some particularly heinous, distasteful thing. Maybe you've agreed to clean the gutters on your house, or chaffeur your sweetie on a shopping binge, or do that weird, complicated thing she likes in bed, with the tongue and the toes, and that little gadget that looks sort of like a laser pointer with antlers. You know, the one you almost sprained your elbow doing last time. Yeah, that one.

So, of course, when you first tell your one and only that you're on board for whatever nightmarish torture you've chosen, she's excited. Giddy, even. But she's a little wary, too -- you don't usually go in for shit like this. You didn't put up nearly enough of a fight, and she's not sure you're going to follow through. You, of course, want the hell out of whatever it is, with a blazing hot passion. But you can't go back on your word. So you're stuck, right?

Well... not necessarily. This is where our old friend 'uncertainty' rides in on the white horse to rescue us again. Let's say it's been a couple of days since you signed your soul away to do this... this thing, whatever hellish task it is. Now your lady's checking up on you, to see whether you've gotten cold feet, and are going to try to wriggle your way out of it. (Which, of course, you are.) So she asks, innocently enough:

'So, sweetie... you're still going to do that <insert ghoulish nastiness here> this weekend... right?'

Now, you can't pretend you didn't agree to do it, whatever it is. She heard you, and it was very clear, and she's probably got it on frigging tape, depending on how shriekingly awful a thing it's gonna be. So you've got no way out there.

But... she's not asking whether you agreed to do it. She wants to know whether you can say -- with full certainty -- that you're going to do it this weekend. Well... babe, that's a whole other story, now, isn't it?

Seriously, consider how much you know about what the weekend's going to hold. I daresay it's not much at all. Next to nothing, really. You don't know what the weather's going to be, certainly -- no one does, including those 'Doppler Douchebags' who try to tell you otherwise. So if the thing in question is weather-affected, all bets are way off. That's an easy one.

But if you really take a close look at it, you don't know much else about the weekend, either. Let's say it's the trip to the mall you've signed up for. Certainly, a little rain's not going to slow you down. (Though let's be fair -- I bet bowling ball-sized hailstones, or a plague of frogs, would do the trick. But let's forget the Biblical shit for now. You can use that in a pinch, but we've got better ways out of this mess.)

Back to your level of confidence about what the weekend is going to bring. Can you know that you're going to do the crappy thing you said you'd do? Well, of coursenot. Who's to say when your legs will spontaneously fall off, or a swarm of rabid bees will descend on your town, or the sun will be swallowed up by a rogue black hole? There's no way you could predict when any of those things would -- or more importantly, wouldn't -- happen. So you're perfectly in the clear when you tell your skeptical sweetie:

'You know, I honestly have no idea whether I'll get around to doing that or not.'

Again, not a lie. And, if you're lucky, just frustrating and vague enough to get you out of it altogether. After hearing that three or four times, your wife/girlfriend/significant chickie will get the hint, and realize that you're probably not going to do the thing, after all. Expectation managed, and without resorting to non-truths. Congratulations. See how easy this is?

And I could go on and on, gents, but I think you probably get the idea by now. You don't need me to show you how to get out of going to the opera ('Can we really, exactly define what 'the opera' is? Nah.'), or cleaning up your room ('Do I honestly own the room? Can it really ever be completely clean?'), or wiggling out of getting 'caught' sniffing your wife's dirty underwear ('Hey, I didn't see you buy the things, honey -- I don't know that they're 'your undies', now, do I?').

Um, yeah... okay, that last one hit a little close to home, didn't it? I think I may have given away just a bit too much information about how I spend my Sunday afternoons. (Hey, the time between football games can be very challenging to fill. Just be glad I have a hobby, would you?)

So I think I'll consider this a job completed, and sign off for the night. I hope you folks have found something you can use in all of this. And when in doubt, men, just remember the one thing that's always true -- when in doubt, we really know nothing for sure. And that's pretty damned hard to argue with, isn't it, ladies?

Monday, December 22, 2003
There's a Rebel Between My Ears

My brain is revolting.

I don't mean that my brain is disgusting, mind you. I mean that it's defying me and my attempts to use it.

(On the other hand, it is pretty revolting, too. All gray and squishy and full of words like 'shit-cicle' and 'buttsnuggles'. Repulsive, really.)

Anyway, I can't really blame my brain for checking out -- not this time. It's been through rather a lot in the last few hours. Here, I'll show you. C'mon -- it won't hurt. And there won't be any 'buttsnuggles' involved. I promise.

About 10:00pm last night:

I finally broke the bad news to brain that we are, in fact, obligated to travel for Christmas this year. Again.

This always throws brain into a funk -- he holds out hope until the last possible moment that a blizzard will hit, or airline workers will go on strike, or someone will hit us over the head really hard, and we'll get to stay at home and get some damned rest, for once. But it never happens. There's no eleventh hour pardon, and we always end up doing the 'dead man walkin' routine up a ramp and onto a plane.

(Much to the wife's chagrin and embarrassment, of course. Hey, it might ruin Christmas for her, but I'm not gonna be the only miserable butthead all week. If I go down, she's goin' with me.)

(And yes, by the way, she also gets embarrassed when I walk around saying things like, 'If I go down, she's goin' with me' out of context. The torture never ends, folks; it's circles within circles within circles. Poor girl.)

Anyway, at ten last night, I took the hard line with brain, and finally made him get started on packing for the flight this morning. He sulked a little, and I think he cried, just a bit, but he finally got to work.

And then, he got me back. (Brain was always a vindictive little bitch.) He packed, all right -- he packed my oldest, flimsiest boxers, and the socks with the holes and stains, and ratty T-shirts, and those jeans with holes where no holes should rightfully be. I had to go behind him and put all that crap away, and repack with more reasonable attire. And he sabotaged that, too! He managed to convince me that several pairs of my wife's panties were really mine, and that her thongs would probably fit me, if I just used enough Vaseline. So now I've got all her underwear in my suitcase, instead of mine.

That's the trouble with fighting with your own brain -- he can tell you anything, and you have to believe it; he's in charge of that, too, you know. I think I managed to get a pair or two of my own undies in there, but in a couple of days, I'm gonna have some tough decisions to make. Tough, painful decisions, I'm afraid. 'Commando' is a very real -- and very drafty -- possibility. Damned brain, anyway.

12:08am this morning:

Just after midnight, I tucked brain in for the night. Or rather, for the morning, and precious little of that. You see, our flight left this morning at six thirty in the morning. Yes, that's a six before that 'thirty' right there. And our house is a half-hour cab ride or better from the airport, so the 'wake-up poke' from the wife came at a none-too-bright but tragically early four am.

(And lest you think there's any silver lining to this story, and that 'wake-up poke' was that sort of poke... well, there isn't, and it wasn't. There's no silver lining, people. The clouds are black, the sky is black, it's raining shit, and the ground is on fire. There's nothing good about it.

And anyway, even if it had been 'that' sort of 'poke', I don't know that I would've been able to hold up my end of the bargain. Or my, um, 'end' at all, frankly. I was barely conscious at the time. I might've drooled as much as I usually do during sex, but it would've been more a matter of failing motor functions than snuggly passion. If any blood had flowed down there during those first few critical minutes, I think I'd have passed out completely. So it's probably better this way.)


So, like a trooper -- and after the sixth or seventh non-sexual finger-poke -- I dragged my saggy brain and droopy ass out of bed and into the shower. I was in there for ten minutes or so -- I can't tell you what was washed, if anything, really. There was certainly water involved, and at one point, I had a bar of soap up my nose, but whether anything was actually cleaner after the experience, I really can't say. Brain's either blocked it out, or wasn't paying any attention in the first place. Fat lot of help he is.

But I made it out of the shower, and combed my teeth, rubbed toothpaste in my hair, popped my contacts into my ears, and jabbed Q-tips in my eyes... hey! Goddammit, my brain was screwing with me again! Cut it the fuck out, dude!

(Hmmm... that does explain a few things, too. Besides the blurry, painful vision and that weird taste in my mouth, I'd been wondering why pigeons kept circling around my head every time I stepped outside. At least my follicles will be minty fresh all day. Meh.)


We boarded the flight out of Boston a few minutes before departure time. Nothing significantly shitty happened here; I just wanted to pound it home that we took a six fucking thirty flight. Goddamned ridiculous.

About 10:30am:

We arrived at our 'destination' (more on that later) six and a half hours after our ordeal began, thanks to a connecting flight and a short layover in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, in getting to our final stop, we managed to goober up the ratio of people to bags that we'd hoped to preserve. When we left, we had two people, and two checked bags. When we got there, and wandered around baggage claim, we found that we still had both people, but we were down a bag. Apparently, the other one had stopped to take a piss, or get hammered in the airport bar, and missed our flight. Lousy bastard bag.

So, we filed a claim for our lost luggage, rented a car, and drove to my wife's mother's house, not far from the airport. The plan had been to pick up a couple of things there, hop back in the Rent-A-Lemon, and drive to my parents' place, about three hours away. Had all gone well, we'd have been there in time for a late lunch. Or an early martini binge, preferably. Either way, well before dark.

But, alas, all did not go well. Thanks to the missing bag, we were obligated to stick around for another couple of hours, until the next flight from Pittsburgh made it in, hopefully bringing with it our bag, and with that, our toothbrushes, blue jeans, and undies. (Well, just her undies, I suppose, since it seems we'll be sharing them this week. But you know what I mean.)


We made it back to the airport for a not-so-quick, not-particularly-good, but exquisitely expensive lunch. Eighteen bucks for a burger, a chicken sammich, and two sodas? What the hell? Were all airports imported from midtown Manhattan, or what? I know you've got a 'captive audience', but jesus, people, settle down. There's more 'gouging' going on around those places than the 'Poke in the Eye' booth at the county fair.

(Yeah, that's one of those times where I thought there'd be something good at the end of that idea... and there just wasn't. I guess I just don't know where the actual, literal gouging goes on in the world. A flu shot festival? At Pokey McStabby's Knife Shoppe? A naked fencing tournament? I dunno... all of these have a very Simpsons feel to them.

Hey, that might be the best one of all -- 'more gouging than on a date with O.J.'. Oh, sure, that's years old, and I really meant the cartoon Simpsons when I said that a minute ago, but still -- it works. Better than a 'Poke in the Eye' booth, anyway. I told you my brain was against me today.)

Anyway, the next Pittsburgh flight finally came in at about one thirty, and we sat and watched the 'Parade of Other People's Crappy Bags' float past, waiting patiently for our own suitcase to emerge. A dozen bags, then two -- many of them collected by their owners. (As far as we know, anyway. Owners, strangers with weird 'other people's underwear' fetishes; either way. It's really none of my business.) A couple of minutes later, the conveyor shut off.

Five minutes later, it started up again, with more bags from the 'burgh. Ours was not there. The conveyor ground to a halt. Again, leaving us still bagless. (Hey, hey, hey... dude. I'm talking about luggage here. Don't get personal with the 'bagless' comments, all right? Keep it clean, skippy.)

We were just about to walk up to the counter and admit defeat, when a new crowd of people shuffled over to the baggage claim. From where, we didn't know -- Toledo, maybe, or Ithaca, New York. One of the Portlands, perhaps. It didn't matter. It was a new hope, however slim, so we parked ass back in our chairs and waited for the conveyor carousel to start again. Finally, it did, and the third time was a charm -- among the dinged-up Samsonites and weathered duffel bags, there was our baby. We would brush our teeth tonight, and wear clean underwear tomorrow! Huzzah!


Finally, mercifully, we made it out of the airport, back to our rental car, and to the last leg of our trip -- a three-hour drive to my parents' place. I'm writing all of this from the car, while my beautiful, spectacular, equally-exhausted wife gets us where we're going. I'm taking short breaks in between my dual jobs of rotating her favorite CDs into the stereo and keeping her awake to bring you this account of life on the road. (And in the air, and in a dank baggage claim, and a stinky rental car... why does it smell like cheese? I mean, B.O. I could understand. Sweat, urine, heavyset tourist farts -- all of these would be explainable, if pretty goddamned revolting. But cheese?! I don't even wanna know. Man, the sick shit some people do in their rental cars...)

Anyway, we'll get where we're going by five pm or so, and I think we'll get the night more or less off, having dinner 'in' with the 'rents. Then we'll get some sleep -- I'm thinking about fourteen hours ought to just about do it -- and get up to continue our whirlwind tour. I'll tell you more about that tomorrow. Or hopefully, I'll think of something more interesting instead, and won't have to put you through that. For the moment, with my brain on strike as it is, this is all I've got for you. Sorry, this is the best I can do with a civil war going on in my skull.

So, I'd better wrap up here for now. I'll get you an update, or more snarkiness, or something tomorrow. Right now, I think my wife may be flagging a bit; she's starting to leak drool onto the steering wheel. So I'll put in another CD and chat her up for a while, to make sure we reach our destination safe and sound. Hope you're having more fun -- and getting more sleep -- than we are. See you again soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2003
A Big Fat Fistful of Snark

Well, folks, today's post is gonna be a little edgier than usual, I'm afraid. I've got some piddly little shit to complain about, and that's just what I'm gonna do. I've got a whole handful of issues giving me grief right now, and I'm gonna tick 'em off on the fingers of one hand, one by one by snarly, snarky one.

So if you're all about the sunshine and the singing and happy fricking little rainbows... well, you're not gonna like this one much. Or maybe you will -- maybe I can find a way to make my petty bitching entertaining. Hey, there's only one way to find out, right? So settle in, and check out my 'Five Fingers Worth of Fucking Foolishness That Are Fouling Up My Fucking Mood'. (Catchy title, no? I'm gonna see if I can get that on a T-shirt, I think. A, um, really wide T-shirt, or maybe a towel. A beach blanket? Whatever.)

Anyway, get out your umbrellas, people -- it's about to get pissy around here.

One -- the Pissy Pinky Finger:

Well, this one's short, if not at all sweet. I actually started this post, and only had four things to bitch about. That's before I wrote half of it, and had Internet Explorer unexpectedly close down on me, thus dumping my (not-so-)precious words, and about two hours of time, right down the shitter.

And so, I say -- fucking again -- thank you, MicroSoft, for screwing me with one of your half-assed, bug-ridden, nausea-inducing products. If the (misguided) people at work didn't use IE, I can guarantee you I wouldn't even have the damned thing on this laptop. And I'd probably run Linux on it, too, you lousy freaking codetards.

Where do I want to go today?

To Bill Gates' grotesquely ostentatious palatial fucking compound in Redmond, or wherever the hell that asshole lives, so I can break my damned foot off in his ass. That's where I want to go today. And I'm so glad you asked. Weenies.

Two -- the Riled-Up Ring Finger:

All day, I've been wearing a shirt around with 'shoulder nipples' on it. You know, those little humps you get on shirts when they're on the hanger all wrong? Well, this one's got it bad -- they're like friggin' horns sitting beside my neck. I keep catching one of them in the corner of my vision, and thinking there's some... thing sitting on my shoulder. What would be there, I don't know -- but I've got a lot of scary ideas. Like, an enormous bug, or some small rodent. Like a squirrel, maybe, or a rabid chihuahua. Or an enormous pile of bird shit. Honestly, I can think of oodles of things that these little bumpy puckers could be, and not one damned one of them is good.

(Heh. 'Bumpy puckers'. That just sounds dirty, doesn't it? Now there's a phrase you could have a field day with in limericks. Hee.)

All right, where was I? Oh, these little damned shirt bubbles. Right.

So, of course, when I catch a glimpse of one of these bastards, I wig out, because I'm imagining that the scorpion, or gerbil, or fruit bat, or whatever the hell my brain has explained it as, is about to get me. So I try to get it first, and whoop and flail and smack myself in the ear, and nearly knock myself backwards trying to shoo these things off my shoulder. (It's all highly entertaining, as my wife can tell you. Who's friggin' side is she on, anyway? Mine, or the fruit bats'? Damn.)

Anyway, in my more lucid and less paranoid moments, I've tried to get rid of these shoulder nipple thingies. But it's impossible -- I've poked at 'em, and stretched 'em out, and rubbed them down... I even tried licking one, to see whether that would do anything useful. (In other words, I did just about everything I do to those other nipples, when I get the chance. Which is less often than it used to be. I'm guessing the stretching has something to do with that, but I'm not sure. I'll get back to you.)

So there they sit, unvanquished. Short of washing the damned shirt, I don't see any way to 'denipplify' my shoulders. And while I always thought that having an extra pair of nipples would be a big bucket of 'woo hoo!', these little nippers are doing me no good at all. Even the licking thing didn't help me any. I just got a mouthful of shirt fuzz. Guh.

I'm thinking of just going into the bathroom, jumping into the shower -- with the shirt on -- and letting the water run over me until these puffy little puckery bastards fall into line. Sure, I'd be soaking wet -- and you might see my nipples showing through the shirt -- but at least I wouldn't keep slapping myself in the damned head all the time. Well, no more than usual, anyway. If you've been reading this shit for any length of time, then you probably know that there's an awful lot of head-slapping going on around here, even on a 'normal' day. I don't need any friggin' more. Bitches.

Three -- the Mad-As-Hell Middle Finger:
One of my favorite ways to pointlessly waste enormous amounts of time with no real prospect of any significant reward pastimes is playing fantasy sports.

(For those of you who've been shackled to a radiator in a basement for the last few years, fantasy sports allows people like me with no athletic skill to live vicariously through professional athletes by drafting a team of baseballers, or footballers, or basketballers -- and, more recently, golfballers, um... hockeyballers, and, er... racecardriverballers? -- and tracking their progress throughout the season. Then we get together with other fat, old, jealous fools trying to recapture their lost youth sports fans in a league, and pretend that we know more than the other people involved. That's fantasy sports in a nutshell.

And by the way -- what the hell were you doing shackled to a radiator, anyway? Unless you live in 'Neverland', that shit's just weird, man. Messed up.)

Anyway, I have devoted copious numbers of hours to fantasy sports. I've crunched numbers, projected performances, invented constants, and charted trends. I've built spreadsheets and databases and programs all dedicated to one single purpose: get the stats, analyze the stats, and spit out the names of the people who are going to kick ass next year, or week, or game, or whatever. Many Charlie-hours -- we're well into the Charlie-months territory here -- have been spent deciding just exactly how to craft and manage and hone my fantasy teams.

And you know what?

I suck.

Okay, that's not completely fair. I can hold my own in baseball and basketball -- I've even won a couple of league championships.

(Yeah, and that and a creased-up dollar bill will get a stripper to shake her cootchie in my face.

How was that one? I thought I'd try that one out. Any good? No? Eh.)

Anyway, I'm okay in those sports -- I win some, I lose some, and I like to think that the former is due to my diligence and superior analytical skills, while the former occurs only because of unexpected injuries, not having access to the information I want, or dirty, stinking cheating by other players. That's what I like to think.

But now my world has been rocked. My upsides are down; my turvys are topsy. You see, I am absolutely lousy at fantasy football. I finish in one of two places -- either dead fricking last, or in the topmost spot that doesn't qualify for the playoffs. That's it -- in six years, that's where I've been, and frankly, I can't say which is worse. Both of them suck large, hairy, pimply ass-cheeks. And none of my analysis has ever been able to change that.

Until this year. This year, I've been distracted by this whole blogging thing. (Hey, you've gotta have priorities, right?) So this year, I signed up for a team, and did nothing. Nada. Squat. Bupkis. I even missed my draft -- the software auto-drafted a couple of decent players, and some real stinkers, based on the default player rankings. I didn't even change those defaults -- I mean, I did nothing, people. No planning, no analysis, and no thinking whatsoever.

But I didn't want the team to go completely to waste, so here's what I did do -- every Wednesday, when ESPN posts their 'expert analysis' of who's gonna do well that week, I followed it. To the letter. If that meant picking up a new player, or dropping guys off the team, then that's what I did. I mindlessly followed the advice, no matter how asshatted it seemed. I followed their hunches, and theories, and plain old guesses. A few of them worked out. A lot of them didn't.

But you know what, dammit? I won. I won, and won, and kept on winning, not only making the playoffs, but winning the first round game! My 'empty-headed drone' routine, where I said 'yes, sir!' to each and every one of the pigskin prognosticators' suggestions, got me where hard work and diligence and creative analysis couldn't. Or didn't, at least. And won't ever again -- how the hell could I go back to doing all that work now?

So I'm left with two stupid options -- continue to play, and put zero thought into it (because you just know that if I ever ventured away from a pick, that's when the guy would score fourteen touchdowns in one stupid fucking game), or just quit altogether. Either way, I'm admitting the one thing that no fantasy player ever wants to say: the 'experts' are smarter than I am.

Ugh! That hurt to even write it. The whole point of fantasy sports is to prove that you know more -- more than the experts, more than the other people in your league, more than everybody. And now I know that I don't. It's a sad, sad day, indeed. I don't even know me any more, man.

Four -- the Irate Index Finger:

Okay, I really wasn't gonna do this. Honestly, I wasn't. I wasn't going to be poopy about my blog review from the Weblog Review -- especially after they were nice enough to send me an Amazon gift certificate for being a contest winner! -- but you know... I just can't help it. It's been one of those kinds of days. Bear with me -- it'll all be over soon.

So, about the review. I have to admit that I'm not as upset about it as Jeff apparently was. But I do appreciate him going to bat for me -- on his own site -- to say that he thought I deserved a higher rating. (And I appreciate the Procrastinatrix, too, for a similar comment on Jeff's post.) It's touching -- it really is. I had no idea that people would care so much! You guys kick ass!

But my beef isn't really about the score, per se. Everybody's got their own tastes -- hell, some people even listen to country music, or watch soap operas. Some kooks wear lederhosen, for Chrissakes! When it's not Oktoberfest! What's up with that?

So it obviously takes all kinds. Some people would think my site's a 'one'. (And many do, based on the 'Reader's Ratings' listed for this blog on the Weblog Review site.) I've got no problem with that. My issue is this -- based on what I read in the review, I don't feel like the reviewer really spent much time here. I feel like I got a bit of a 'drive-by rating', rather than the in-depth, probing assessment I was hoping for. (Hey, I'm always in the mood for some 'in-depth probing'. What can I say? I'm romantic and shit that way.)

Anyway, based on the review, I'm not sure what to think. The reviewer said a lot of nice things, and I do appreciate that. On the other hand, there were no negative comments, and while I sort of appreciate that, too, it makes me wonder what the rating was based on. A little constructive criticism would have been nice.

At the same time, the reviewer really didn't say a lot, if you really read the review. I try to do things a little differently around here than most other blogs, and I'm not sure the reviewer really dug in far enough to notice. (Hey, if some goober searching for 'Stripperella naked' doesn't 'dig in' very far, that's one thing. I suppose I was just hoping for a little more from a dedicated reviewer.) Good or bad, it would have been nice to see that the links to my standup sets, and my one hundred posts rather than things, and the LinkFilter extras, didn't go completely unnoticed. I'm kinda proud of some of that stuff. (And some... uh, less so. Still!) So I'd have appreciated a 'yea' or 'nay' or something about those things. Something -- 'love it!', 'hate it!', 'put on some damned pants!' -- just, you know... something.

So I think I'll wait a couple of months, and then ask for another review. Hey, maybe I'll even pay for a review next time -- those get done faster, and maybe that'll get me more than one person's perspective. That's all I want, folks -- the more opinions, the better. And don't forget -- all of you guys are reviewers, too, and the most important ones, as far as I'm concerned. If there's something you want to see -- you know, short of naked piccys of me, or my wife, or me and my wife -- lemme know. I'll do what I can to deliver -- help me help you. I'm just here for you, you know.

(Oh, and if you want nude snaps of the dog, I think I can help you there. We've got whole photo albums of those, and they're very tastefully done. Well, most of them. The set with the edible undies did get a little risque... and come to think of it, the 'money shot' closeups in the 'black teddy' series were a bit graphic. But still -- there are plenty of others. We can work something out.)

Five -- the Thavagely Thour Thumb:

Well... you know, I had this big bitchy rant all ready to end this thing, all about what a pain in the ass our Christmas is every year, with the travel and the planes and the driving and the crippling exhaustion... but all that changed a little while ago. The whole flavor of this Christmas break changed -- I won't get into why, but let's just say that the rant seems... inappropriate now.

(And not in the usual way -- I'm all about being inappropriate in the usual way... but this is a little different. It just wouldn't feel right. I wouldn't mention it at all, but I've got nothing left for the 'thumb', to finish out this post. At the same time, I still have very mixed feelings about Christmas -- I'm just not gonna bitch about them right now.

Still, I didn't want you to think that I'd suddenly been permanently de-Grinchified. I'm sure I'll eventually prove that theory wrong for you. So it's certainly not the case that my heart suddenly 'grew three sizes', or anything like that.

Hey, if anything is gonna grow three fricking sizes, my heart isn't gonna be on the top of the list, if you know what I'm sayin'.

What? Why're you looking at me like that? I have a small pancreas. My pancreas! What did you think I meant?

Oh, nice. Very funny. Ho ho friggin' ho. Bite me.)

So, I'll just say this -- the wife and I do have to get up at -- or stay up until -- four in the morning to catch a six am flight. And then we'll spend a week shuttling between two cities that are two hours away from each other, trying to see everyone and do everything that's expected of us. And finally, we'll fly home, exhausted and battered, in dire need of a real vacation. The schedule gets us every time.

But this time, I'll be able to tell you about it, as it happens! So look for 'updates from the road' over the next week, and cut me a little slack if I miss a day here and there. I'm gonna try to stick to my 'post every day, whether I need to or not' policy, but 'net access at our respective parents' houses is spotty sometimes. So I'll do my best. And be certain -- absolutely rock-solid sure -- that whatever I'm doing, I'd rather be blogging. Much rather.

And now, I'm gonna go pack my bag. Man, four in the morning is gonna get here in a hurry. Damn.

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