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  11/16/03: Comedy Studio
  12/03/03: Emerald Isle
  12/17/03: Emerald Isle
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  101 Things About For Me

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  #6: Six Stitches
  #7: What's in a Name?
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  #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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Where the Hell Was I? has moved!

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Saturday, January 17, 2004
Maybe It Would Be Safer to Just 'Go Commando'

So, let's talk about my underwear for a while.

(I know, I know -- you've been waiting months to hear me say that, right? What? No? But...

Hey, where are you going? Wait! Okay, okay -- I won't talk about my underwear. Just come back -- I'll post about something else, okay?

What? Oh, sure, okay -- I promise I'll talk about something else. Happy now? Come on, sit back down.

There you go. Good. Comfy? All right, then. Let's get started.)

Hah! I'm gonna talk about my underwear anyway! I had my fingers crossed when I promised, and now the door's locked. And if you want the key, you're gonna have to get way more intimate with my underwear than you're probably comfortable with. So just settle down, keep still, and it'll all be over soon enough.

(And no, I don't 'say that to all the girls', ya perv. Nice talk, there, skippy.

And stop banging your head against the wall, dammit! Ten minutes of hearing about my undies isn't that bad, for chrissakes. Jeez, there's always one in every crowd...)

Anyway, let's get back to my underwear. (And, as it happens, I do say that to all the girls. Nyah!) Now, here's the thing -- I'm a boxers man. I went through a 'tighty whitey' phase -- I think most guys do -- but I've come through it, and converted fully over to the boxery-type underpants. I'm all about letting 'the boys' breathe.

All of this is well and good -- a tad creepy for you, perhaps, but stick with me here; none of this has been eye-gouging-out nasty, now, has it? Yet, at least. We'll see who needs a good gouging when it's all over with.

So, boxers. Over the years, I've found that there are many, many different kinds of boxers -- some have longer legs, and some are more elastic around the waist, and some of them are fitted, and some even glow in the dark. Fine. These are largely cosmetic differences, and don't really affect the boxer-wearing experience in most cases.

(Sure, if you're trapped in a dark cave wearing only your underpants, then you'd be well-served to have on those luminescent puppies. You might just be able to spelunk your way back to civilization by the 'light of your crotch', so to speak.

On the other hand, if you manage to get yourself stuck in some underground cavern with nothing but your undies to keep you company, then maybe you'd be better off just sitting there for a while, and thinking about how you got yourself in that mess in the first place. There's obviously something horribly wrong with the way you're living your life, dude. First things first.)

Anyway, the sorts of things above don't really make a lot of difference to me when picking out my undergarments for the day. But there is one 'feature' on certain pairs of boxers that I've found to be very important, and I've learned -- the hard way -- to look before I gird my loins in the morning. Much embarrassment and explanation can be avoided by checking for one simple feature on the underwear I'm about to don.

And that feature is the crotch button. See, many pairs of boxers have just a fly opening in front, providing easy access to, um, you know, the old 'Winky Funkerbean'. Ahem. Other undies, though, sport a single button in the center of the opening, helping to keep the barn door closed when not actually in use. Both of these designs have their merits, I suppose, but one is far preferable when you're actually venturing out into public. Care to take a guess which one?

No? Still pouting because I'm talking about my underwear? Fine. I'll just tell you. Big baby.

It's the buttonless boxer that should be worn when mingling amongst the natives, hands down. Now, to some, this may be counterintuitive. And certainly, I can see the point that it's not always a picnic to have your equipment slip out the hole in your underwear, and flap and wave freely against the inside of your pants. Sure, sometimes it's a big tubful of 'Oooh!', but often, not so much. There's uncomfortable bending, and mashing, and the less said about scraping little Spanky against the zipper of your jeans, the better. That is so not a place where you want to be applying Bactine. Eek.

But that admitted disadvantage is far outweighed by the big issue with the buttoned variety of boxers. And this is the lesson that I learned the hard way, so I'll explain this little problem with an example from my own experience. So come on, put yourself in my boxers for a moment. Walk a mile in my underpants. Try to see the world through undie-colored glasses.

(Okay, I'm done. But only because those are the only sayings I could think of to butcher at the moment. If I think of more, I'll let you know. Oh yes -- I will let you know.)

So, back to the example. Let's look in on a typical day at the office a few months ago. It's afternoon, and I'm sitting in my cubicle, minding my own business. (Which often meant blogging, or surfing for sites featuring naughty, Crisco-slathered Scandinavian cheerleaders, while pretending to do actual work. But I digress. Again.)

At any rate, let's say that around two, maybe two-thirty, the caffeine from lunch kicks in, and suddenly, I've got to make tinkles. So, I head down the hall to the bathroom, find a urinal, and proceed to leak. Fine. Slightly disturbing, maybe -- yeah, don't bother trying to picture this, folks; these scenes are being reenacted by trained professionals -- but fine.

Now, this is a busy office, and with only one mens' room per floor. So it's not uncommon for people to enter and leave the room while I'm taking care of my, er, 'bidness'. It's even common for a guy or two to stroll in and use one of the other urinals in the bathroom. Let's say that happens during this little vignette, so that when I'm ready to 'shake and tuck', there are a couple of other folks standing beside me, doing their own things.

(Well, hopefully not 'doing' their things -- that would be... unsettling, to say the least. But you know what the hell I mean. Let's move on.)

Now, if I were wearing the buttonless boxers, the procedure would be simple -- give a little wiggle, tuck Blinky in for the night, clap my hands, jump back, turn around, and presto! All done, nice and easy. But the button-up undies are tougher -- to really consider the pee-pouring 'complete', the button's got to be redone. And while everything else in the process can be done one-handed -- or no-handed, if you're a real risk-taker (or aren't concerned about the condition of your shoes) -- it's not so easy to rehook the crotch button with one hand.

So picture this -- there I am, all finished with what I'd come to the urinal to do. I make my 'tuck', as usual -- personally, I use a move with a low degree of difficulty, but it's highly reliable. Other folks like to 'reholster the pistol' with more of a flourish, to impress the judges, but I say they're risking an unfortunate mishap -- or worse, splashage. So I stick to the basics. That's not really part of the story -- just consider that a freebie. You can thank me later. It's okay.

But back to the urinal -- all of me is back in the corral at this point, but I can't zip and go until I get the button done. Therein lies the problem. Now, while these other pissing people stand beside me, trying their damnedest not to peek in my direction, I've got to go digging in my pants -- with both hands -- trying to find the button, and the hole, and get them back together in the 'closed' configuration.

And that's not the easiest thing in the world, especially when you can't see what the hell you're doing down there. Let me clarify that a bit -- technically, unlike some men, I can look down and see my zipper, if need be. It's at least physically possible. But -- and I can't stress this enough -- when fumbling with your crotch button while standing at a urinal with other people nearby, the absolute last thing that you want to do is crane your neck over and peer down at your fingers wiggling and writhing in your open zipper.

For one thing, it is never a good idea to let anyone know that you don't know what the hell is going on in your own 'front yard'. That's how rumors get started, folks. And for another, you staring at your crotch while standing at the pisser is the surest way to get other people, standing at their pissers, to look over and see why the hell you haven't zipped your damned pants and turned around yet. And the last thing that you want them to see -- or they want to see, for that matter -- is you, hunched over and squinting at your crotch, with your hands jammed halfway in your pants, nervously diddling away. Forget the rumors, people -- that's how blackmail based on incriminating photographs gets started. You get caught on camera watching yourself play patty-cake inside your pants, and you'll never run for office, I can tell you that. Hell, they'll probably blacklist you from McDonalds, too. You might never work again.

So, that's the message -- if you're gonna wear the buttoned boxers, then for heavens' sake, do it on weekends, or vacation, or in your hermit cave, if you have one. But never anywhere or any time that you might be near a public urinal, and have to go through the shame and embarrassment that I had to endure. Learn from me, gents, and you'll never have to get caught fumbling with your crotch button in public yourself. Now, see? Everybody was all squeamish when I started this post, but I'm really only here to help. I'm always here to help. I'm just surprised you ever doubted me. Tsk.

Friday, January 16, 2004
See, This Is Why We're Married

My wife and I are a perfect match -- we understand each other very well, and appreciate the other's talents, thoughts, and outlook on life. Allow me to illustrate the 'give and take' that we share with two small examples from this evening's festivities.

Example 1: We were sitting on the couch, watching TiVoed standup comedy, when a commercial came on. Normally, I'd fast-forward through them, but I wanted to take the opportunity to ask her a very serious and delicate question:

Me: 'Hey, hon... I've been working on my standup set for Sunday, and I wanted to get your advice.'
Her: 'Okay, I'll try.'
Me: 'All right -- do you prefer 'tender pooper', or 'boo-boos on your pooper'?'
Her: 'Hmmmm. I think I like 'tender pooper', but it depends on the context'

There was more to the conversation, of course -- I told her the context, and we discussed the merits of each line, and finally decided that yes, 'tender pooper' is probably the way to go. (I don't want to give too much away here, in case some of you are thinking of coming to see the show at the All Asia Cafe this Sunday. Wouldn't want you to be bored, of course.)

But the important thing is that she actually gave the question some thought, and gave a well-considered, helpful answer. You know, instead of replying with something like:

'What in the hell did you just say, and why haven't I divorced your stupid ass yet?'

Yep. That's mah girl. *sniff*

Example 2: Just to show you that the ridiculous crap flies both ways in this relationship, here's something she said, with a perfectly straight face, not ten minutes later, in a completely different conversation:

'Oh, I'll get booties. I'm gonna get electric booties!'

Yep, we're two perverted peas in a pod, folks. Jealous much?

I Don't Need a Car -- I Need a Frickin' Aspirin

I just saw the most bewildering commercial. I honestly don't know what the hell to think of it; even as I write this, I have the 'Did I really just see that?' look on my face. You know the one -- you had it yourself, if you saw the Madonna-Britney 'tongues a-flapping' stunt, or peeped Tawny Kitaen's mug shot from a few months ago (apparently, she's been dancing underneath fancy cars, rather than on top of them, for the past few years), or sat through 'Dude, Where's My Car?' It's the look of shock, and disbelief, and boggly-mindedness. I've got that look right now, and here's why:

The commercial was for a local car dealership, and started out innocently enough. There was the usual 'Buy! Buy! Buy!' nonsense, with plenty of accolades and teasers thrown around -- in the aftermath, I don't really remember the specifics, but you've heard these commercials. They're always saying things like:

'Best selection on our half of the block! As far as you know, anyway.'

'Lowest prices ever -- we're living in these cars, so we can bring 'em to you cheap!'

'Act now, and you'll have no payments for three decades! No interest, either! Hell, just steal a car -- it's the same thing!'

'We're crazy to sell 'em so low -- just crazy! Look, I'm biting myself! Mmmpppphh! Ow! Dammit! That's crazy!'

Blah, blah, blah. Same old shit, right? But then, right at the end, they deviated from the script, and said the following, to entice customers out to their lot:

'You've got to get here soon. Remember: tomorrow, today will be yesterday's today.'

That's right, folks. 'Tomorrow... today will be yesterday's today.' Read that a couple of times. Say it to yourself; let it sink in. I'll wait.

Got it? Good.

So, I'll admit, that little nugget of wisdom stopped me dead cold for a couple of minutes. I just sat there on the couch, drooling and staring at the wall.

'Tomorrow... today will be... yesterday's today.'

I simply couldn't process it, or let go of it, or wrap my little mind around it. Or breathe, as far as I can remember. My whole world stopped for a while, as I turned it over and over in my head. I may have peed, just a little.

Until finally... slowly... it clicked. After several repetitions, three swigs of gin, and a sharp blow to the head, it clicked. Tomorrow... today will be yesterday's today. Ohhhhhhh. Okay, I got it now. It's today right now, but tomorrow, today will be yesterday's today. Gotcha. It actually does make some sort of sense.

Now. While we're here and all, I've got just one more question:

'What in the name of Henry Ford's dungaree-clad ass cheeks does that fricking mean, and why would anyone believe that it would be a useful way to sell used automobiles?'

Seriously, I couldn't tell you a thing about the rest of that commercial, other than that there were cars involved. I don't know the name of the place, or the location, or what interest rates they're offering on a barely-used full-sized Volvo sedan. All I know from watching their thirty-second clip is:

'Tomorrow... today will be yesterday's today.'

And that gets me -- and by extension, them, the car salesmen -- a big fat bunch of approximately nowhere. I and everyone else who saw that ad is just sitting in our living rooms, stunned and covered in our own drool, while the car lot is dead empty because nobody can remember what the hell the commercial is for in the first place.

I'm at a loss. I don't know whether to clap, frown, or snort derisively. I'm still unable to move half my body, and my face is frozen in this dazed 'What the fuck?' expression. I'm physically drooling on the keyboard as I write this. I... I just don't know what else to say. Any thoughts? Help? Please?

Don't They Teach You People Math in 'Weather School'?



Hi: 15
Lo: 9

I pulled this 'forecast' from Yahoo earlier this afternoon. Now look, you muddle-headed meteorologist morons:

If it's TWO fricking degrees now, then the low for the day cannot be NINE!!

Sure, by tonight, they'll get it right and have a proper high and low... but that's too damned late! I could figure this stuff out after the fact. What are we paying these people for, anyway?

Damn you bastards and your revisionist histories! I want the truth, dammit! The truth!

You Had Me at 'Probed'

Well, if I'm gonna act like a 'normal' blogger today, then I might as well post a link to something, no?

I was browsing the 'News of the Weird' (or 'Oddly Enough', or 'Hey, Look -- Cluetards!', or whatever the hell it's called) on Yahoo just now, and found this little ditty of a headline (click for the full story):

Cold Postmen Probed for Not Delivering Mail

Now, maybe I'm reading something into this... but just based on the headline, this seems a little harsh to me. I mean, I like getting mail as much as the next guy, but a probing, just for withholding a few bills and AOL CDs? Damn. These people are already cold; don't you think they've suffered enough? This isn't Eric Cartman we're talking about here.

Ooooh, two links in one post! And the post's already over... I think I'm getting the hang of this 'normal' blogging thing. Woot!

My Kingdom for a Pepsi!

I like to think I'm a reasonable man.

I mean, sure, I'm not, actually, but I certainly like to think so. And in this case, I think I'm being more than fair.

See, I'm not complaining that when the soda machine here at the office runs out of Pepsi, no one fills it for a week or more.

And I'm not bitching about the fact that when I find out that the machine is empty, and press the 'Money Return' lever, my dollar and a quarter turns into five quarters, and I have to spend the rest of the day dealing with 'jangly britches', as the change tumbles to and fro in my pockets.

I won't even get hot and bothered about the fact that the 'Sold Out' signs on the machine -- assuming the damned things even exist -- are burnt out, and that it's impossible to determine what's actually inside the machine without plugging it with money. (Unless perhaps you have a buzz saw handy, which this machine is making me seriously consider as my next Home Depot purchase.)

Nor am I even going to rail about the fact that when the machine runs out of said quarters, because we poor, ignorant saps keep trying to get our daily doses of caffeine, the machine doesn't return anything -- not the single quarter, not the dollar, not one red damned cent whatsoever.

No, friends, I'm going to keep my mouth shut about all of that, which, as I said before, I like to think makes me quite reasonable.

But I'm going to draw the line, and call the machine a big flubber-humping, ass-diddling pork-jobber, because the damned thing is still out of friggin' Pepsi, now nine days later, and if I want something to drink to keep me awake this afternoon, I've got three choices:

1) Freeze my rosy asscheeks off walking to the next building where I can buy a Pepsi from the convenience store guy

B) Break down and use my hard-earned buck and a quarter on a nasty Mountain Dew, and live with the taste of citrus-flavored battery acid in my mouth all day

iii) Go back to my office and guzzle the bottle of shit that's used to clean whiteboards, hoping that it'll give me a buzz and keep me awake, rather than dropping me into a foamy-mouthed coma on the spot

Shit. Given the negative-twenty degree wind chill outside, and the fact that I know how bad the Mountain Dew's gonna be (no offense, DewNut -- and hey, if I can't stand the stuff, that's just more for you), I'm leaning toward door number three. But maybe I'll stick a toe outside and see how cold it really is out there. If the piggie doesn't come back frostbitten and black, maybe I'll bundle up and make a trek out to the convenience store. It's either that or the cleaning fluid -- neither of these are good options, folks. How the hell am I supposed to pretend to work under these conditions?!?

Next Time, I'm Gettin' a Bowl of Soup

Well, fuck it. I'm just gonna go ahead and declare this 'Blog Like a Sane Person Day', and dole weird little thoughts out to you as they happen, rather than saving up two thousand words' worth of shit, and plopping it in your laps all at once.

But that's today only, kids. The long-winded, meandering diatribes begin again tomorrow. (And if that doesn't improve morale around here, then we'll institute the nude feather-duster spankings. And if that doesn't shape things up... well, then, I don't know what I'll do. But 'fireplace-size anal thermometers' were mentioned a few days ago. So be careful what you wish for.)

Anyway, the thought of the moment is this:

Why, oh why won't 'tall surly Middle Eastern guy' at the deli downstairs cut my chicken sandwich in half for me? The onion roll I get it on is huge, and the damned thing is unwieldy, to say the least. The thing is the size of a frickin' dinner plate, and the chicken's all chopped up, so the sandwich wiggles back and forth in my hands... it's like trying to eat a packetful of M&Ms jammed between two slabs of Jell-O. It's ridiculous.

(On the other hand, that analogy sounds like a pretty damned good dessert. Like they say, there's always room for Jell-O with M&Ms stuck in the middle. And with all that gelatinous goodness around them, the M&Ms wouldn't melt in your mouth or your hands. They'd probably melt somewhere in your esophagus, actually. Now doesn't that sound tasty?)

Anyway, I don't know what this guy's problem is. 'Goofy smily Middle Eastern guy' cuts my sandwich. 'Short crooked-nosed Middle Eastern girl' cuts my sandwich. Even 'quiet shifty-eyed Latino guy' cuts my sandwich. What the hell is 'tall surly Middle Eastern guy's problem?

And sure, I could ask him to cut my sandwich... but that's not the point. I want him to figure it out on his own, and shape the hell up without me having to tell him. Suddenly, I feel like I'm the guy's wife --

'Well, if you don't know what's wrong with my sandwich, then I'm not going to tell you. Don't say you're sorry unless you know what you're sorry for, you bastard! 'Tall surly Middle Eastern guy'... I don't even know you any more!'

Okay, that's all. I'm gonna shut up and eat my sandwich now. Damn, even my 'short' posts are, like, eight paragraphs long. How do you short-post people do it, anyway?

Behold the Power of Doodles

Apparently, I'm in a 'quick and dirty' frame of mind today (as opposed to 'long-winded and dirty', as usual). Anyway, here's a thought that's been bugging me for a few days now:

Which is the better vague sexual euphemism:

'getting my cheese doodled'


'getting my doodle cheesy'

Yes, folks, these are the things that keep me awake at night. Pity me. Pity me now!

Honey, What's the Date on This Milk? It Tastes a Little Phlegmy!

Just a quick note to tide you over until later:

I know that I'm finally recovered from my long-lingering viral infection that turned into an ordinary cold, and then a persistent cough, because I can once again drink beverages directly from the cartons in the fridge without feeling guilty about it.

That's not to say I ever stopped drinking directly from the cartons throughout the whole ordeal. I just felt bad about it for a couple of weeks. Especially when I sneezed or coughed mid-sip. (The orange juice is still a little... 'pulpier' than it should be.)

That's all. I just thought you'd like to know. See you in a few hours -- stay warm out there, people!

Thursday, January 15, 2004
You're Late... and Why Do You Smell Like a Heineken Brewery?

I had a bit of a rough morning. Oh, it started out innocently enough -- I woke up as usual, and padded into the office to check my email, look at the blog stats, read comments. Standard stuff, really. After a half-hour or so of piddle-dicking around, I decided I was hungry. So, I got up, detoured around the dog (sleeping in the middle of the doorway -- I swear, that mutt has some sort of detector to determine the very epicenter of 'in my fricking way', so she can plop her fat ass in exactly the most inconvenient spot imaginable), and headed for the kitchen.

Once there, I snagged myself a Pop-Tart (low-fat, but frosted; I'm all about compromises), and a plastic sippy cup for milk. I had to use the 'safe' cup -- and forego toasting my Pop-Tart -- because this was all happening at around eight-thirty in the morning. And I am not to be trusted around glass objects or electrical appliances at eight-thirty in the fricking morning. I'm lucky if I can successfully operate my underpants at that hour.

(As I've mentioned many times before, I am under no circumstances a 'morning person'. The world becomes tolerable at around ten, maybe ten-thirty am. Before that, I don't want to be talked to, looked at, touched, or even erotically diddled.

Well, okay, maybe diddled. Gently. Just don't talk to me or look at me while you're doing it. Or wait until eleven. We'll both get much more out of the experience then.)

Anyway, Pop-Tart and cup successfully procured, I shuffled over to the fridge to see about the milk. I opened the door -- and two beer bottles from the topmost door shelf (placed there 'temporarily' a few days ago, when we had to cram a bunch of food on the other shelves) came careening down, past my nose and onto the floor. One of the beer bottles was fine, and suffered only moderate foamage in the fall.

The other bottle... well, let's just say that there's no direction in which you can stretch the word 'fine' to describe the state of bottle number two. Pieces of it lay on the inside of the fridge, up against the salad crisper. Much of it lay on the kitchen floor, shattered. I eventually found bits of it a few feet away, in the hall outside the kitchen. This bottle was many things, friends, but none of them was 'fine'.

(By the way... 'salad crisper'? Come on. Who made up that name, anyway? Some hotshot at Amana who wanted to suggest that the fridge was somehow going to magically 'encrispen' the salad veggies? Please.

The drawer might be configured in such a way to keep the things crisp, or encourage them to stay crisp, but I would be extremely skeptical of any claims that the cheap, non-airtight plastic bin in my refrigerator is somehow going to impart crispness to my vegetables out of thin air. So it's not, in the strictest sense, a 'crisper'.

Now, the oven? That's a crisper. Those burners on the top of the stove -- also crispers. I've dropped more than my share of soft, fleshy items on those things (yeah, you probably just don't wanna ask), and without exception, they became crispy. Ooh, and flamethrowers, too -- I've never operated one myself, but I think it's pretty safe to say that those things are all about the encrispening.

In fact, pretty much anything with fire is a good candidate for a 'crisper'. A plastic basket in the fridge -- not so much. You can see my frustration here.)

Anyway, back to the mess. There I was, soggy Pop-Tart in hand, squinting with contact lens-less eyes at a floorful of glass shards and hand-crafted lager. Bitches. For a while, I toyed with the idea of just letting the dog lick up the beer, and then sweeping whatever was left into a dustpan. But while that would have been a very easy cleanup option, I'm pretty sure that I'd have to explain exactly how the dog came to have several bits of brown glass ground into her tongue. And that could be a tricky question to answer next time we're at the vet's office, so I looked for a 'Plan B'.

Unfortunately, the only other alternative seemed to be the distasteful one -- thoroughly, carefully, and painstakingly clean up the damned mess myself. At a quarter til nine in the morning. With no contacts, and therefore a non-blurry visibility of about four inches in front of my nose. Still, there wasn't much else I could do. The mess blocked my way to the upstairs bathroom, where my contacts were. And the beer would get all sticky and gross if I left it very long. I thought of just washing my hands of the whole thing, and walking out the back door into a new life somewhere else... but I was wearing only boxer shorts and a T-shirt, and it was roughly Antarctica-minus-four degrees outside. Given that, and the fact that I couldn't see my toes clearly, much less the road to speed away into oblivion, and I decided that I should take the hit, and clean the shit up.

It was a long and arduous process. Many brave paper towels were lost on the battlefield, two kitchen rags will never smell quite right again, and the 'salad crisper' is still, several hours later, somewhat damp and soggy. (A soggy crisper. Ooh, the irony is just delicious, isn't it? This is why I get paid the big bucks, folks.)

Anyway, after a half-hour or so of this nonsense -- wiping, and sweeping, and scrubbing, and rubbing -- I was finally able to call the job 'finished' and get the hell back to my morning, already in progress. By that time, I was late for work, so I scarfed down the Pop-Tart, took a shower, popped in my contacts, and hit the door. Though not before slipping back into the kitchen briefly, where I was smacked in the face by a veritable wave of stale beer odor. The wife's gonna think I've been having secret keggers in there after she goes to work in the morning. I wish, honey -- I wish.

(And actually, now that I've thought of it, I'll work on making that happen. A couple of mid-morning brewskies could do wonders for my outlook on the world at that hour.)

So, that was my morning. Spilled beer, big catastrophe, late to work -- just another episode in the 'Life of Charlie'. And in the aftermath, I think I'm probably most upset about the waste of hoppy goodness. I had plans for that beer, dammit, and several of its closest friends, as well. 'Tis sad to see a lager cut down like that, in the prime of its barley-kiss'd youth. (Heh? Yeah? All poetic and shit, ain't it? See? I can pull that shit outta my ass when I have to. You know.)

Anyway, that's my story. I suppose the moral is either to always open your rerigerator door slowly and look out for falling beer, or to just never get the hell out of bed before ten am, so these sorts of things don't happen. Or possibly, it's to keep a spare outfit and a pair of glasses by the kitchen door at all times, so you can always get dressed and vanish forever when something goes horribly, horribly wrong in the kitchen. Hell, I don't know -- maybe it's 'all of the above'. You figure it out. I got a kitchen full of beer smell -- I don't have time to do everything around here. Sheesh.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
My Deepest Nethers and a Defective Windshield... But Thankfully Not in the Same Story

Well, that's just frickin' peachy.

After two days of relatively sweltering twenty degree weather, the New England area has once again been plunged into sub-Arctic levels of frigidosity. Or freezyhood. Or cold-as-ballsness. Whatever. You know what the hell I mean.

So far -- and I'm knocking on wood over here; no, not that kind of wood, ya pervert... damn, you people never stop, do you? -- ... wait, what the hell was I saying, anyway? Let's try that again.

So far -- and I've got my fingers crossed over here -- none of my body parts have thrown up their hands and just fallen off in frozen disgust.

(And if you're about to point out that my body parts don't have hands of their own, well... how the hell do you know? You haven't seen a lot of my body parts -- I might have hands in all sorts of places that you don't want to think about while you're eating dinner. Little, itty bitty body part hands, twiddling their thumbs and snapping their fingers and rubbing -- no, no, massaging -- nooks and crannies in places that would make your toe hairs curl. Yeah. You ever think of that?

Or... it could just be wishful thinking, as usual. Seriously, wouldn't it be cool to have an extra set of mini-digits or two around the ol' body, to take care of scratching itches and pulling stuff out of certain places -- or putting things into other places, come to think of it. I think that'd be pretty damned cool, myself.

Like earlier today, for instance, I had an itch. Down there, in the worst possible spot. Not really among the bumpy bits in front, but not in the, erm, 'landfill' out back, either. Just right... between, at the very bottom -- that little no-man's land that isn't really 'crotch' or 'ass' or 'inner thigh', but lives right next door to all of them. You know -- there. I don't know what the hell it's called, but if people came with zippers, that's where they'd be. Right there.

Now, I ask you -- how in the hell does one scratch that particular place and retain any shred of dignity whatsoever? 'Cause I haven't found a way. The crotch, I can manage -- just drop a pen or something on your lap, and surreptitiously spend a little extra time picking it up. And ass-scratches are easy -- face away from everyone else and pretend to check your wallet, or *scootch* in your desk chair just the right way. Problem solved, and no one has to know.

But that dark, dank place underneath? The very depths of the nethers? There's no way to get to that without putting on a show. If you're sitting, you've got to slouch down in your chair, lean your ass forward, and spread your legs like a drunken cheerleader at a 'Girls Gone Wild' kegger, just to get to the area. Never mind actually reaching down there with your hand and getting busy with your bad self.

And standing up is even worse, if such a thing is possible. That little bit of skin was just never meant to be easily accessible. If it happens to itch while you're on your feet, walking around, your only path to relief involves hiking one leg in the air, like a poodle pissing on a poplar tree. (Or a wolfhound whizzing on a weeping willow. Spaniel spritzing a spruce, maybe? No? Oh, you people.)

Anyway, none of those options were really open to me today, seeing as how I was sitting in a conference room with a dozen people at the time. And I think several of them saw me twitch when I felt the first tickle, so they were keeping a close eye on me -- there's no way I could slip a few fingers down there and do the deed unnoticed. So, I fabricated a coughing fit and quick-stepped out into the hallway, where I could spread out and get down to business. Ahhhhhh. That's better.

Of course, I got busted. The janitor came around the corner and saw me, with both hands jammed down there, scritching and scratching like crazy. I thought he might blow the whistle on me, or at least give me a funny look. Instead, he just kept walking, and said, over his shoulder:

'Hey, if you're having trouble, I've got some dirty magazines in the broom closet. Door's always open, cuz.'

Ouch. Not only did he have the wrong idea, but now I can never go near the broom closet again. Or stay late in the office, or look him directly in the eye, or touch any of the cleaning supplies. Who knows what he's doin' with those broomsticks and dustpans in there, anyway? Jeez, no wonder we can never get a box of tissues around this place. Yuck.)

Wow. Where the hell was I before that came out of me? Damn. That's one hell of a tangent, even for me. I'm all spent and shit. Whew!

Well, let's see -- somewhere way back there, I was mentioning the eye-freezing, hair-whipping, testes-chasing cold weather that we've been having. Again. But the only reason I brought it up was to tell you that while the various bits of my body have been troopers so far, and stayed firmly in place (or softly in place, as the case may be -- hush up!), my car has not been so kind. The single-digits temps finally got to old Betty yesterday, and she developed a three-, maybe four-foot crack right across the windshield, nearly from door to door. This, my friends, is what the ancient Sumerians called a 'bad thing'.

And it's not just that I have to call some crooked schmo to get the damned thing fixed. No, no -- that would be bad enough, and I'm sure I'd be annoyed if it were a cracked fender or broken tail light or some critical issue with the fuzzy dice on the rearview.

(Hey, don't laugh -- the dealer charged me sixty bucks to have those babies 'refluffed' last time I was there. Frankly, they looked about the same to me afterward, but they did smell quite strongly of cigarette smoke. And ass. So I'm not sure how much fluffing really went on. I was looking to recapture that 'Vegas feel', but came away with more of an Atlantic City vibe. Damned lousy car dealership, anyway.)

But the problem with the windshield is not one of cost. Rather, it's a question of dismemberment, or the possibility thereof. I've got to continue driving the car for a day or so -- to work, to the vet's office, to home -- before I can clear my schedule out to get it fixed. And in the meantime, I'm living in constant fear that some bird is gonna shit on it in just the wrong way, crack it all the way through, and the windshield is gonna cave in on me while I'm cruising down the street. And on the list of 'Things That Would Make Me Squeal Like a Happy Piggy If They Fell in My Lap', 'two jagged sheets of broken glass' are way, way, way down at the bottom. Somewhere below 'a vat of battery acid', and just above 'Tom Arnold after a chili cookoff'. That would be way down the list.

(For the record, 'a million bucks in crisp, new hundreds' and 'Christa Miller' are up there near the top. You know, just in case you have my lap in mind when next Christmas rolls around. I know I will.)

So, I'm stuck driving around the city at nine miles an hour, cringing at each pothole and bump and pedestrian I hit, thinking that this one might be the one that finishes off the windshield and sends sharp glass careening at my midsection. Oh, and don't get me wrong, by the way. Normally, I try to avoid many of the pedestrians that scurry in front of my car. But I know what sudden heating and cooling does to glass, so I'm afraid to turn on the defroster, for fear that that will break the windshield in half, too. So it's a bit tough to see out, with all the fog from my breath, and what's left of my body heat steaming up the windows. I tried rolling down a window to see out, but my left ear tried to crawl into my head to protest the blast of cold air, so I just went with it. I'm sure none of those folks were hurt badly, anyway. Hell, I was going slower than they were, and none of them impacted hard enough to finish breaking the windshield. How bad could it be? Buncha babies. Bah.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Random Thoughts After a Hard Day's Work

Jeez, what a workday. Three hours of meetings this morning, another hour and a half this afternoon, and now I'm installing new software on my laptop. Slooooooowly. This is like watching grass grow, or paint dry, or Keanu Reeves act. Painful.

Tonight, I've got to take the dog to the vet for a checkup. Amazingly -- at least to me -- my dog is great at the vet's. Mainly, I think she just digs the attention and love, and therefore puts up with all the associated poking and prodding. Come to think of it, it's a pretty good deal for her.

(Hey, if a nurse at my doctor's office would come and rubbed my underside while I was getting my shots, I wouldn't mind going to the doctor, either. Hell, if some random chick on the street came up and started 'petting' me, I'd probably let her jam a needle or two in me, too. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this. Seriously, ladies -- try us sometime. Just don't tease us, and always have a lollipop ready for us afterwards. There are rules for this sort of thing, you know.)

Now, what the hell was I talking about? Ah, my long, meeting-infested day. Gotcha.

Except I think I'm done bitching about that -- most of you have similar problems, so there's not a lot of entertainment value there.

(Of course, most of you probably don't have strange sultry women coming at you with needles, so maybe it's a wash. If that sort of thing is 'old hat' to you, then you probably need to find a different neighborhood. Or stop pissing off the local womenfolk, or stop pissing on the local womenfolk, or in any case stop doing whatever it is that's making them lunge at you with syringes. That's a pretty clear sign that you're doing something wrong; I'm sure of that.)

So. What other trouble can we get into, then? Hmmm. I'm drawing a blank. It's as though the meetings and software and office crap just sucked every ounce of creativity right out of my head.

(Whether through my nostrils or my ears, I can't really tell. Could be either, actually -- I feel like I can hear a little better than usual, but I also smell a faint whiff of almonds when I sniff. That's right, isn't it -- creativity smells faintly of almonds? Oh, no, wait; that's gangrene. Creativity smells like citrus and old socks. Damn. I could have a problem, then. I'll have to check on that.)

I'm not sure whether this should be adding to my troubles or helping them, but I'm also currently in an office with room for five people, but I'm the only one here. Everyone else moved out to greener pastures, and it's a little creepy being in here all by myself. Truth be told, I've never seen more than three people in here at once, despite the five desks. And frankly, five people in this space would be pretty damned cramped, unless we threw the chairs and wastebaskets out into the hallway. (Dunno what we'd have left to do in here if we did that, though. I bet we could play a mean game of Twister in here, though.)

Anyway, it's moot, because all my office mates are now mating in offices with other people.

(That sounded just a tad presumptuous, didn't it? I suppose I don't really know that any of them are -- as we speak -- 'mating', whether in an office or anywhere else. And to be fair, I can't really give you good odds that a couple of them ever mate. Scary little buggers, they are.

I think I just got carried away with the thought of playing Twister in here. I mean, I know the kind of kinky shit that always leads to. I read Penthouse Letters -- I'm down with the 411. Dog. Um, yeah. Ahem.)

Okay, where the hell was I? Offices? Mating? Gangrene? Damn. I lost it.

Well, maybe I'll have better luck tonight, after I get the dog back home and settle in for the night. Hopefully, some dinner -- and perhaps a few shots of tequila -- will get my brain back on the right track. Right now, I'm fried, and it's almost time for the puppy's appointment, so I'm gonna get the hell out of here. Until then, you folks have a nice evening, and -- *snuuurf!!*

Damn. I swear that smells like almonds. I hope to hell somebody's eating some sort of nut assortment, or drinking an almond mocha, or something in the next office. I'm starting to get a bit nervous here. I don't remember haveing any horrible, life-threatening, limb-mangling traumas in the past couple of days... but the way my brain feels right now, that's no guarantee. I'll have to have the wife do a full-body scan on me when I get home tonight. Guess that means I'll have to talk her into a game of naked Twister. Boy, the things I do in the name of good health, eh?

Monday, January 12, 2004
Clothes Make the Monday

Today was an odd day. An awful lot of my Monday revolved, one way or another, around apparel. Gather round, and have a seat -- I'll tell you all about it. Pull up a chair. Have some nice hot tea. It'll be fun. Really.

So, when the clock struck midnight this morning, I was -- finally -- unpacking the last dregs of my suitcase from the holiday break. Oh, all the important stuff was already out, washed, and long ago put away -- the undies, and the tube socks, and the SpiderMan Underoos. You know, the essentials. But there were still a couple of things there -- a couple of dirty T-shirts, and a sweatshirt I didn't get a chance to wear. There may have been a rugby in there, too -- hell, that's just about all I wear; the odds are pretty damned good. And finally, at the very bottom of the suitcase, was a new navy dress shirt that I got for Christmas.

So, I dealt with all the other shit first. Tees in the laundry, sweatshirt in the drawer, rugby back in the closet. It all took maybe twelve seconds -- blink, and you'd miss it.

(Okay, so that's not quite true, I guess, unless you're one hell of a blinker. Seriously, twelve seconds would be a pretty damned impressive blink, don't you think? Maybe not if you're kissing your sweetie -- twelve seconds of eyes-closed goodness is nothin' when you're getting a little lippy love. But just sitting there, twiddling your thumbs? Twelve seconds isn't a 'blink'; it's damned near a friggin' nap.

But, wouldn't you know it, I digress. Let's see what's going on back at the ranch.)

That left me with my new button-down shirt. Now, this should come as a surprise to approximately none of you, but I don't get all 'gussied up' very often. I wear dress shirts for weddings, funerals, and job interviews, and vanishingly rarely in between. So it's been a while since I've actually bought -- or, more to the point, unwrapped -- a brand new button-down.

And holy shit, folks -- there is a lot to it! I honestly had no idea. It took me fifteen mintes to extricate this stupid damned shirt from all the paraphenalia that was attached to it. And when I was finally done, I had the following:

one new navy blue button-down shirt
eight stick pins (one of them slightly bloodied... yes, I'm a clumsy boob)
one clear plastic neck-liner thingy
one slightly larger cardboard neck-liner thingy
one tag that had been held on by one of those little white plastic doohickeys with the flattened ends
another tag that had been tied around one of the buttons with a piece of string
one sticky clear strip of plastic with 'Large' written on it over and over
one large piece of chest-shaped cardboard, pulled from within the bowels of the folded shirt

That's one hell of a lot of 'fixins' for a shirt that I'm going to wear maybe twice in my life, folks. I may well have spent more time getting it unwrapped and jammed on a hanger than I'll ever spend with it on my back. And I think I still have a pin stuck up my left nostril. All in all, I'm not sure it was worth the effort. I don't know why I wear stupid damned shirts in the first place, anyway.

Next up today was getting bundled up for work this morning. But not quite as bundled up as the past few days. See, it's been something like six degrees Kelvin around here for the past week. So in order to go outside, I've had to strap on a coat, and gloves, and a scarf, and a hat, and any other warm, fuzzy thing I can get my hands on. Earmuffs, small rodents, feral cats, Richard Simmons... it really didn't matter. Anything that might keep me warm.

(Though I was a little annoyed by the cats licking my face all the time. And I don't even want to tell you what Richard tried to wiggle his tongue into. That really is one disturbed, hairy little man.)

Anyway, today was different. Today, the mercury finally made its way back into the twenties -- downright balmy by New England standards. So I had decisions to make this morning -- wear the coat, or leave it at home? Don the hat, and look like Krusty the Clown for another day (yes, I'm in dire need of a haircut), or go without? Wrap the scarf around my neck for warmth, or the dog's legs for entertainment? These are all important questions, of course, not to be taken lightly.

In the end, I went with the coat, but left the hat and scarf at the house. In other words, I allowed ninety percent of my heat to escape through my wild and woolly hairy head, and another five percent to leak out through my exposed neck. But at twenty degrees, even that's not so bad. Even five percent of my usual heat is enough to keep the ol' brain moving, and the legs churning, and the crotch fired up. Er, well, maybe not 'fired up', per se, but at least... outside the body. Which is nice. I didn't see my testicles for nearly a week during the cold snap -- it was nice to know they're still... ahem, hanging around. So to speak.

Yeah, let's just move on before I say something like that again, all right?

So, wrapping up this apparel trifecta, I'll admit that I realized this morning that I had a little... problem. Nothing too alarming, or deal-breaking -- in other words, nothing that would force me to get back in the car and come back home to fix. Still, there were some issues down there, and they weren't going away. That's right, friends -- today was a 'bad pants day'.

I'm not sure exactly what the problem was. Things were okay in the... waistage area. Apparently, being sick in bed for four days cancelled out all the Christmas cookies I ate, so there hadn't been any 'unsightly expansion' that I was aware of.

(Well, okay, maybe a little, when I watched an episode of Family Guy before work this morning. Damn, that Lois is quite the little number, ain't she?

But that, um, 'unsightly expansion' was only temporary... and wasn't really in the waist area, exactly. And... well, I don't really like to talk about it. My wife gets all catty when I talk about Lois too much. Moving on.)

Anyway, something was going on with my pants today, and I never did figure out exactly what it was. But no matter what I did, I just didn't feel comfortable in my own denim today. It pulled at the top of this leg, and then bunched at the back of that knee, and then wiggled around and yanked itself all up in my bidness. Every time I turned around -- or bent over, or did any sort of 'riverdancing' -- there was some bit of my pants giving me grief.

And it was constant, all day long. Tug this, adjust those, furtively look all around and then yank that out of my ass... I couldn't concentrate all day, until I finally got home and could get comfortable. Then, I could finally relax, and lounge in any position I wanted. I tell you, folks -- thank heaven for those SpiderMan Underoos. They saved my ass again. And this time, quite possibly literally. Ahhhhhhhh.

So, that's it -- an unusual day of clothing-related nuisances and annoyances. And tomorrow, I'll have to go back to work and ask everyone what the hell they said to me all day today. I wasn't really listening, what with misadjusted pants legs and denim seams halfway up my hoohah. (If I, you know, actually have a 'hoohah'. I really never was much good with these technical medical terms.)

Ah, well. Maybe tomorrow will be better. I'll have no complicated shirts to unwrap, for one thing. And the temperature will be up in the twenties again, so I shouldn't have to worry about hats and scarves and Eskimo mukluks, which is nice. And my pants... well, the pants are a real unknown, I've gotta admit. Maybe I'll just wear my Underoo bottoms to work -- hey, people may snicker and point (more than usual, that is), but dammit, I'll be comfortable. And really, when you get right down to it, isn't that what's most important?

Um... it isn't? What do you mean? You're saying 'keeping your damned job' is ahead of 'comfort' on the list? I see. Well, shit. Guess I'm back to those itchy, scrunchy, wiggly bags of denim again. Can't I ever win, just friggin' once? Bitches!

Some 'Forward Thinking' for a Monday Afternoon

Hey, boys and girls.

Well, our good friend Buzz has decreed today the fourth... um, commemorative Blog It Forward Day.

(Wait, no, that's not right. It doesn't 'commemorate' anything, as far as I can tell. What the hell would it be? It's not 'annual'. 'Periodic'? 'Pseudomonthual'? 'Nearly random'? Whatever. Let's just move on, shall we?)

So, who to pick, who to pick? So many juicy sites on the ol' blogroll... ooh, I know. Let's do this one:

Shelley at Cynical: A Life is way cool, very clever, and too funny. She's also -- if you can believe my Technorati report -- the second person ever who was nice enough to link to me!

(That was a whole 194 days ago, and she got beat out by less than an hour by J of J's Notes. And he's pretty damned cool, himself -- go have a looksee!)

Anyway, back to Shelley. I love her dry wit, the way she crafts a story -- her long posts crack me up! -- and she even (occasionally) mentions boobies. Or just boobs. Or glands. *gulp*

Add to that her two-plus years of archives, way-cool design, and the fact that I might just get to meet her this weekend... and there you have my Blog It Forward choice for today. So go give Shelley some love, and tell her that Charlie sent you. Or Buzz, since he's sort of responsible, too. Or hell, just lie, and say that you found her all by yourself, if you want. Ungrateful bastards.

But the important thing is that you go -- go on, shoo. Go see Shelley. I'm done here, and I won't be back until tonight. Nothing more to see here; move along to Cynical: A Life for all of your Monday mid-afternoon comedic needs. I'll catch up to you later. Bye, now!

(What? No... no, get out of here. Look, I'm just turning out all the lights, and sweeping up the place. Really, show's over. There's no encore, or anything. Get outta here before I release the dogs, all right? Seriously. Go. Don't you people have homes?)

Sunday, January 11, 2004
You Call That a Fire? Now That's a Fire!

I started my first-ever fire last night.

Okay, so that's not entirely true. But I did start my first-ever intentional fire last night. Or at least the first that I've started all by my widdle self, without close adult supervision. Truth be told, there was loose adult supervision -- my wife was milling around, looking for extinguishers and fire blankets and burn unit emergency numbers. Oh she of little faith, and little fire insurance. Bah.

Anyway, last night we christened the fireplace.

(Well, again, that really depends on your definition of 'christen', doesn't it? We started our first fire in the fireplace last night, but not everyone would count that as a 'christening'. Some people would say we christened it when we bought the house. Others would consider the fireplace 'broken in' the first weekend we spent in the house, when I peed on it to mark my territory. Still others wouldn't consider it 'christened' until my wife and I have gotten busy on the hearth -- otherwise known as a 'diddle by the chimney'.

Personally, I say we properly introduced ourselves to the fireplace last night, when we burned our first logs and produced our first batch of soot. But trust me -- I'm still gonna angle for some 'hot 'n' heavies' on the hearth. Those fireplace gloves and bellows sitting over there just scream kinky. Rawr!)

In any case, the fire last night was really nice, and actually pretty easy. The previous owners left us some wood to work with, and my wife picked up some fireplace tools and starter logs yesterday afternoon. All I had to do was toss on a couple of logs (well, limbs, really -- the fireplace is pretty damned small), light the starter, and sit back to watch the conflagration.

(Hell, lighting my damned propane grill should be so easy -- out there, I'm always afraid I'm gonna blow the damned thing up, or singe my eyebrows, or catch my shirt on fire and melt it to my nipples. Yes, these are the sort of things I sit around and worry about -- grill explosions and melted nipples. Is it any wonder I don't sleep at night?)

The only inconvenient thing about this fireplace is the width. The opening is only about twelve or fourteen inches across, and much of the wood the last people left is longer than that. Some of it, I can fit in diagonally, or shwoop up the flue like some kind of fireplace-sized anal thermometer or something. (How's that for a disturbing image? Yeah, folks, if I'm goin' down that nasty kind of road, I'm taking all of you with me. That's how it works, people.)

So now, we've got to go out and buy some sort of power tool or other -- a 'saw', I think it's called -- to cut some of that wood down to size. Either that, or we have to get a big-ass tall ladder, so I can get up on the roof, and drop that shit down the chimney to burn it. Either way, it's clear that we're once again woefully short on equipment, not to mention experience or basic homeowners' knowhow. Maybe now you can see why I think my nipples are in jeopardy -- at any given time, I could easily find a way to injure them, or flambe them, or accidentally lop them off.

Awright, that's what -- two, maybe three, mentions of my nipples? That's probably a sign that it's just about time to wrap this train wreck up. Maybe I'll go figure out what the hell to do with all the ashes from last night's fire. What's that shit good for, anyway? Don't people make soap or something out of ashes? Can I sell it a smudge at a time for Ash Wednesday? I dunno. I'm still new at this whole fire thing. All I'm sure of is that those ashes might still be hot, so I'm gonna be sure to have my gloves on when I go to clean them up. Oh, and my fire-retardant asbestos-lined pasties, too -- you can never be too careful when there's nipples involved. Safety first, folks!

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