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Where the Hell Was I?

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Stuff By Me

Proud Moments

  Punchline Fever!

Standup Standup

  11/16/03: Comedy Studio
  12/03/03: Emerald Isle
  12/17/03: Emerald Isle
  01/07/04: Emerald Isle
  01/08/04: The Times
  01/18/04: All Asia Cafe
  01/22/04: The Times
  01/25/04: All Asia Cafe
  01/28/04: On the Hill
  01/31/04: Chops Lounge
  02/04/04: Emerald Isle
  02/08/04: The Vault
  02/15/04: All Asia Cafe
  02/18/04: Emerald Isle
  02/22/04: The Vault
  03/10/04: Emerald Isle
  03/24/04: Emerald Isle
  04/01/04: Comedy Studio
  05/17/04: Comedy Connection

'Me' Things

  101 Things About For Me

  101 Things Posts About Me

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

  My LinkFilter Posts
  My LinkFilter Journal

Quantum Terminology

  Current Term: pudsnugglers

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  06/15/2003 - 06/22/2003
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  11/30/2003 - 12/07/2003
  12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003
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  02/08/2004 - 02/15/2004
  02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004
  02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004
  02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004


  < ? bostonites # >
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  ? Obscure Logs ?
  < ? 100 Things # >
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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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United States, Massachusetts, Watertown, English, Charlie, Male, 31-35.

Where the Hell Was I? has moved!

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Saturday, January 31, 2004
I Have Enough Stains on My Pants Without Sitting on That, Thank You Very Much!

We got a new futon today. Actually, it's a 'new old' futon, from a couple that we're friends with. They just bought new living room furniture, and don't have room for it, and so we took it off their hands.

And frankly, I have mixed feelings about taking it.

It's not that there's anything wrong with the futon. It's in great shape, very well taken care of. It's not that.

And it's not that we don't have room for it. Actually, quite the contrary. It perfectly fills a niche in the room we've been calling the 'library' (because it's got our bookshelf in it). Now that it's actually possible to sit in the 'library', maybe we'll actually use the damned room for something other than storing the vacuum cleaner and books that we're never going to read. So that's not it, either.

Actually, I'll tell you what it is -- this is a futon, right? A mostly-couch that can easily be converted into a guest bed, and -- from what I understand -- was used in just that capacity many times. And we got it from a married couple that's been together for several years -- probably longer than they've had the futon. See where I'm going with this?

No? Fine, I'll spell it out. They're a couple, right? And it's well documented that couples only hang with other couples.

(There's a secret handshake and a codeword and everything; it's very complicated. I hear the people with kids even get a little tattoo so they can identify each other.

Of course, there's probably no truth to the rumor that the tattoo is inked to look like deep, worried, sleep-deprived bags under the eyes. I'm sure there's no truth to that at all. Right.)

Anyway, they're a couple. And for years, this was their guest bed. For other couples. See? Get it now?

Oh, fer Chrissakes, do I have to explain everything? Look, couple may get together for a myriad of reasons -- convenience, love, a shared passion for bocce -- but one fact about all couples is incontrovertible: when a couple is out on the road, travelling, and especially if they're visiting another couple, that is the time they're going to have the wildest, kinkiest monkey sex that they're ever going to have. That's just the way it is. People don't pack their inhibitions in suitcases, folks. Strange bed, strange sex. It's an unwritten law or something.

So now, in our 'library', we have the... um, 'stage' that was host to all manner of God-only-knows-what kind of 'performances' over the years. Presumably quiet performances, sure, lest they attract an unwanted audience, but still -- if that futon mattress could talk, it'd have to go to 'Skinemax' to tell its tales. Network TV would bleep every third word the thing would say! The FCC would have a collective coronary. And mayhem would ensue, and the waters turn to blood, and there would be a great gnashing of teeth, and so on and so forth.

Okay, so it might not cause quite that much of a stir. Still, I don't even wanna think about what sort of encounters have taken place on top of the piece of furniture now sitting innocently in our house. Or under it, or with one person doing a handstand beside it. Sheesh. That thing's like a set of 'Kama Sutra' training wheels, or something. It's outrageous.

And lest you think the problem isn't as large as I'm making it out to be, I never told you the worst part. You see, these people that we got the futon from... well, they're nice. No. Really, really nice. Wonderful, even. They're thoughtful, and outgoing, and generous (see Exhibit A: 'Futon, They Gave Us Their'), and generally swell to hang around with. It's horrible!

Why? Well, because that just means that there have been oodles -- nay, veritable hordes -- of friends and colleagues and well-wishers who must have stayed at their place over the years and bumped big hairy uglies on that futon. Thousands of 'em! Why we couldn't have gotten hand-me-down furniture from a couple of antisocial hate-spewing halitosis-heaving harpies, I'll never know. Now there's a futon you could sit on without paranoidly checking every three seconds for sperm stains. Where are the truly repulsive socially inept couples when you really need 'em, eh?

So, it looks like we're stuck with this thing. (And may soon be stuck to it. *shudder*) And really, I shouldn't complain. In all honesty, it looks pretty fantastic, and I don't see any stains -- love juice or otherwise -- on the whole thing. It's a great favor, and we're really appreciative for the new furniture. It's just what that room needed.

Still... it probably just means that all those bodily fluids -- and chocolate syrup, and honey, and for all I know, kosher pickle squeezings -- have sunk deep inside the cushion, just squishing and mixing and oozing together in there. I can almost hear the *sssppplllqqqttt* noise it's going to make the first time I can bring myself to actually sit on the thing. We'll probably have to put a drip pan or something underneath it, to catch all the excess that gets squooshed out the bottom.

I don't know. Apparently, I still have my doubts. Maybe I can just sit on the arms of the futon, or sit in the floor, and carefully lean back -- only against the wood parts! -- while I read my books in there. Maybe that'll work. Or I could wrap the whole cushion in Sarap Wrap... but yeah, that makes me feel a little kinky, really. I might be tempted to break the futon in myself if I start doing shit like that.

So, I guess I'll just live with my unease, and eye our new futon warily. I'll probably get over my anxiety and actually sit on it -- eventually -- but I'm not sure I'll ever be truly comfortable with it. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm one of those guys who really prefers not to have 'sex slobber' randomly strewn all over his house. But if it is there, I wanna know whose it is, how and when it got there, and goddamit, I had better be involved in slinging it around!

Unless it's in the guest room, of course. We have couples staying with us from time to time, too, of course. And I hear the creaking, and the giggling, and the pickle jars opening. I know what's going on. But see, that's just it -- I know who is in there, and when the bed's getting all messy, and why the wallpaper's going to need a good scrubdown. And most importantly, I don't have to sit on the guest bed, ever. So in many ways, the shenanigans in there are easier to handle.

But this new futon -- who knows who's been gettin' jiggy on it over the years? Or when, or how, or with what sort of props? Are we going to find rubber bands and corkscrews under the cushion one day? Ugh. I can't even look directly at the thing; it's just too much. Who's idea was this 'used futon' thing, anyway?

Friday, January 30, 2004
Baby, Is It Time for My Geritol Yet?

Ah yes, another Friday night in Casa de Charlie.

(Is that better, or Chez Charlie? How about Der Charlie Haus? The Shantytown Crapshack of Charlieness? No? Eh.)

Anyway, my wife and I are here. On Friday night, at eleven o'clock. In our sweatshirts and 'fat pants'. We got home, ordered pizza, and sat down on the couch to eat it, watch TV, and think about how fucking old we've gotten. Pitiful, really.

Oh, I could make excuses -- I could convince you that we've both had exhausting weeks. She's been working until ten or later the past few nights; I've been getting up early and also been out of the house four of the last six nights, either working out or at comedy shows.

(And come to think of it, the two are really interchangable. Doing standup in front of people probably gets my heart racing faster than any sort of cardio crap that those muscle-headed trainer bastards could come up with.

And if you've ever seen me work out... well, let's just say that they hand out blinders to everyone when I walk into the gym, lest the other members double over hysterically and hurt themselves falling off the treadmills when I reach the 'gettin' jiggy' portion of my exercise routine. It's an insurance thing, I suspect. Some liability clause or other.)

Anyway, I could probably weasel our way out of being called 'loserly' tonight. You know, if I argued hard enough, and fed you enough low-quality tequila. But what about all those other Friday nights we've spent lately, cooling our heels in our nighty-night clothes, too spent from a week's worth of being pounded down to get out and pound down some beers? Let's face it -- we're old. Done. Cooked. Kabukied. Or something -- who knows what the hell 'kabuki' is, anyway?

So, we're old, and boring, and it's just damned depressing. I remember the salad days, not long ago, when we'd frolic among the living, dancing and singing and drinking scary bubbling purple liquids until our eyebrows got numb. Okay, so we never sang, or danced much, either. We'd occasionally drink wine -- that's sort of purply, right? -- but usually it was just a couple of beers at the local watering hole, under the twinkly sexy glow of a Budweiser frogs neon light. Still, a night out is a night out, right? Even if the 'main course' is beer nuts and stale bar food.

(Hell, especially if that's what's on the menu. Everybody knows there's nothing better than a couple of mouthfuls of soggy nutty 'chos.

Man, it just seems so cheap and tawdry when I put it that way. And -- you know, 'Ew'!)

And really, it's not like we're not still spending time in bars -- all those comedy shows I've been going to haven't exactly been at Carnegie Hall, you know. I've caught my share of 'seedy underbelly' recently, if you catch my drifticles. I mean, sure I can't drink for the five minutes or so that I'm onstage -- well, not much, anyway; just a sip after the really big laughs.

Yeah, so like I said, I really don't drink onstage. *sniff*

I do sometimes have a beer or two beforehand, though, to steel the old nerves. At least, that's the theory. In practice, it just tends to fillen up the old bladder, instead. Which makes my sets shorter, as I race through my material so I can use the damend can, but I think my delivery might be a little more consistent if I weren't hopping back and forth and crossing my legs throughout the whole thing. I'm thinking next show, I'll just pee right there on stage -- that's at least got to get a pity laugh, right? And it's all about putting together a unique persona up there -- how many people have you seen on Comedy Central or HBO who just let 'er rip 'n' drip like that? I'm guessing none. I'm also guessing that there are probably laws against that sort of shit, so maybe it's not the way to go. Man, I thought I had something there.

Anyway, I forget what the hell my point was. Something about being pitiful and old, hanging indoors on a Friday night. But you know what? I'm liking it in here -- it's warm, the beer is free, and I don't have to worry about how the hell I'm gonna make it home. That's pretty friggin' sweet, if you ask me. Of course, in the meantime, my wife has fallen asleep on the couch; she's drooling on the pillow right now. The dog is buried under a blanket, snoring. And here I am, watching TiVoed standup and giving you folks a running commentary of my night. Whee-fuckin'-ee, folks. Welcome to the jungle.

Yeah, this is goin' pretty much nowhere. And I really am beat tonight -- I need ten or twelve hours of sleep in me before I'll be good for much of anything, I'm afraid. So I think I'll sign off for the night and let you get back to your weekend. I just hope it's more exciting than mine -- I feel like a game of shuffleboard is gonna break out around here at any moment. Where the hell did my youth go, anyway?

The Last 'State of the Blog' Post for a While

Hey, all. Sorry about this commercial break, but I feel that I've got to slip in one more info-post about some things that are ongoing and wrapping up. I think this will be the last for a while, though, so take heart -- it'll be an uninterrupted stream of hilarity again soon. (And if you're really Jonesin' for the usual shit, check out my Amberview answers from yesterday. That oughta tide you over.)

Now, on to the first order of business. Speaking of interviews, let's get that out of the way right off the bat. There are still three sets of interview questions out there in the hands of folks who haven't posted answers yet. (I know, I know -- how can this be? Apparently, my sphere of influence is shrinking. Oh, the shrinkage!)

Anyway, I have a pledge from nv over at Advanced Maternal Age that she's working on them, but I can't say for sure what's up with the other two folks. Maybe I got spam-filtered out -- I dunno. Anyway, here's the complete list of questions / answers, as it stands now. Go check these out if you haven't already; these folks have some spectacular responses to some pretty ridiculous, outlandish questions. Great job, guys.

Happy Questions with Cool, Witty Answers

Jon of Quality Control: answers here
Joe of Play By Play: answers here
Natalie of Natalieville: answers here
Mark of R80o: answers here
Marti of Marti's Blog: answers here
Erin of Chix Mix: answers here
Faith of Faith Wild: answers here
Rae of A Likely Story: answers here
Dinky of Dinky's Docket: answers here
Susan of Third Daughter: answers here
Amber of Learn to Speak Ebenese: answers here
JavaJenn of Mommy Needs Coffee: answers here
Flip of Here Somewhere: answers (in progress) here

Sad Little Orphan Questions with No Home or Loved Ones

Eka of SnazzyKat
nv of Advanced Maternal Age
Cometgrrrl of Adventures of Cometgrrrl and Comet

This'll be my last update on the interviews -- I'll edit this post if answers come in, but I won't bug you with these lists any further. It's been a couple of weeks, after all; I've really got to learn to 'let go'.

While we're in the 'Things That Are Winding Down' mode, I'll also mention (for the last time) that voting for the Bloggies ends tomorrow. Hop on over and find yourself some cool reads -- in assorted languages, no less!

This humble little effort of mine is up for the 'Best New Weblog' -- there's some stiff competition in that category; I suggest you go check them all out, and make an informed decision before you vote. Even if you're still inclined to vote for me, you still might find some new fodder for the old blogroll. Just tell 'em Charlie sent ya.

(Oooh, yeah -- especially if you didn't vote for 'em. That'll give 'em a false sense of security. Sweet.)

While we're on the subject of voting (and don't ya just love the seques this time?), I'd like to thank each of you who voted for me in the first round of the Blog Madness competition. With your kind help, I've made it through to the second round in the Bills region. This week, my opponent is tales of a silly girl..., who's logging in with the entry 'I was curious. So shoot me.' Go read her post -- and mine, if you haven't already -- and vote for whichever you prefer. The competition is heating up -- vote early and often, folks!

(Well, okay, you can't really vote 'early'; the round started at midnight today, so the time for being 'early' has passed. And frankly, you can't vote 'often', either -- just once per person. I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

Look, it's a figure of damned speech, all right? Just... go. Go vote. Stop giving me crap. It's early, dammit.)

While we're on the subject of voting (yes, I know I already used that; I said it was early, all right? Cut me some friggin' slack), I'm a couple of days overdue in listing my favorites for this week's Blogger Idol posts. Week Two's topic was 'Freedom', and here are some posts that struck my fancy (and in some cases, that other little naughty bit next to the fancy, but not quite as ticklish):

Frenklin's Tale at Shouting Into the Void

A Full List of Freedoms at Quality Control

The Freedom to be Real at quantum meruit

What is that smell? at Southernly Delicious

The Abuse of the Freedom of Style! at Jaded Angel

Read 'em up, folks -- they'll put hair on your chest! And click the image below to read all the week two posts. Bonus!


Three other quick things, and then I'll let you get back to whatever it was you were twiddling before you got here. (And I'm really hoping it was 'thumbs', and further that it was 'your thumbs', but I'm not gonna make any judgements. To each his or her own twiddly things, I always say.)

Anyway, the latest King of the Blogs competition has unfortunately gotten mired in a bit of drama. There's been name-calling, and complaining, and hurt feelings, and some generally assheadery, but things seem to be working out now.

(And I've even gotten a new tagline out of it, to go in the randomizer with the others. So when you see this at the top of the page one day:

'It's not for everyone. It's for everyone except humorless, self-righteous assholes.'

just know that I've got someone specific in mind. But it works in the general sense, too. And it makes me giggle. Hee!)

Kudos to Nick, who runs the show, for taking a step back and getting things settled down. I think it could be a lot of fun, despite the snarkiness that crept into this round; I'm not sure exactly what happens next, frankly, but I'll keep you posted. That's just the kind of stand-up guy that I am, folks.

And speaking of standup (hoo, am I good at these seques, or what?), I also wanted to let you know that my latest comedy set is now available for your viewing confusion. It's nine minutes of 'Comedy Feldspar'; check it out.

Ooh, and as I said in the description page for the clip, it should finally makre this post clearer. Not that I actually was able to follow that list, but it's something. Follow along, if you like. It's blogger participation day at the open mic!

Finally, there's a new feature on the left sidebar, just above the archives. It's called 'Quantum Terminology', and I'm not sure exactly what's gonna happen with it, or how long it's gonna last. It's really just a place for me to put the random things that pop into my head, so they won't keep me awake at night. But of course, now there's the whole Catch-22 possibility that I'll start staying awake at night trying to think of them, so it's all pretty much a wash.

Just think of it as another zany window into my tortured, mangled soul. Except... you know, funnier. That sounds sort of painful and tragic and all. Yeah, we can't have that. Just go check out the new feature, shake your head sadly at my madness, and move on. That's probably for the best. Yeah.

Okay. That seems to be all that I have on today's agenda. And it's Friday, so let's all fan out and get hammered! I'll be back later with a 'real' post of some sort; in the meantime, you folks stay safe and warm, and I'll see you again soon. Cheerio!

Thursday, January 29, 2004
I Think We All Know What 'Paybacks' Are, Don't We?

So, it turns out I'm an idiot.

Of course, I don't have to tell you people that -- you've been basking in my lunatic booberedhood for at least two sentences now, and some of you for much, much longer than that. (Poor bastards.) So you know I'm a dumbass. I might as well get a big frickin' red tattoo, to remove all doubt.

Still, there are times when even I am amazed by the stupid, moronic, assheaded things that I do. (And I live with me! All the time! You'd think nothing would surprise me by now, that I'd have learned something from experience. But sadly, I'm kind of a dumbass. Hey, did I mention that already?)

Anyway, here's the latest foolhardy, feeble-minded, 'what brand of crack was I smoking?' embarrassment that I've committed -- I let Amber from Learn to Speak Ebenese ask me interview questions. *groan*

Now, don't get me wrong -- Amber's the coolest. She even came out to watch me do standup -- and still speaks to me! So, clearly, if nothing else, she's got a superhuman tolerance for bullshit and nonsense. (And probably codswallop and flapdoodle, too, but I keep forgetting to ask Wayne whether she's stopped by.)

Anyway, I know what you're thinking, and yes, I'm stalling. See, I knew Amber was baiting me into an interview -- that she had all sorts of outlandish, freaktastic, goobery questions lined up (you know, like the crap that I come up with!) -- and yet, I agreed, anyway. What a douchebag. I'd go soak my head in a bucket if it weren't spinning so fast from trying to come up with answers to these sins of nature she calls 'questions'. Thhhhpppptt!

But never let it be said, friends, that I back down from a challenge such as this. As a matter of fact, I'm going over and above the call of duty here -- I have in my inbox no less than eight questions from Amber, with instructions to pick the five I want to answer. Pish tosh, I say! Pish tosh and poppycock! I snort derisively in your general direction!

For you see -- being the apparently lobotomized drooling assbag that I am -- I'm going to answer all of these crazy little questions, to let it be known that I will not be beaten down and cowed by the type of ridiculous crap that I ask of other people. No, sir! I can dish it out, and yea, so will I take it. It has been written, and so it shall be done.

So, without further ado, here it comes. I'm afraid I won't be offering to give out interviews this time around -- I came up with seventy-five questions last week (and fifteen are still unanswered; what are you people doing to them?!), and I'm just spent. Um, question-giving-wise, that is. Ahem. But, to humor Amber, I'll take time to answer her twisted little queries. Come on along, folks -- it's gonna be a bumpy ride, I'm afraid. I think I angried her up a bit with my questions; this girl is serious.

1. You are dead and can come back as a poltergeist to one person. As a poltergeist you are obligated to follow this person around from house to house, should they move. Bear in mind that you are obligated to haunt this person until they either A.) die or B.) get a little midget to get rid of you. So you'd better pick someone who won't bore you, ultimately. Who do you haunt and why him/her?

Ah, now, see, there are a lot of ways to go with this one. I could pick someone really old, and maybe with a heart condition, so I wouldn't have to do a lot of work. Just one big 'Boo, ya bitch!', and it's all over. But where's the fun in that?

I suppose I could also go with some sort of celebrity, to get the fame and notoriety of haunting a 'beautiful person'. I'd have to pick somebody who's already a little 'out there', so the whole poltergeist thing would stick... Tom Arnold, maybe, or Bjork. Yeah, she'd be interesting for a few decades, I imagine. Or no, wait -- Nicole Kidman. Yeah, perfect -- she's half-scrambled as it is, would never get boring, and -- as a bonus -- I could see her naked any time I wanted. Sweet!

But really, how much fun would it be to haunt someone you don't even know? I think the whole celebrity thing is out, because it would just be so damned impersonal. I mean, sure, they'd come to fear and hate me, like most of the people I know, but why would I be haunting them for all those years? Where's the motivation? I can't work under those conditions.

And besides, I'm a petty, vindictive son of a bitch. If I'm gonna spend the first few decades of my afterlife scaring the piss out of somebody, I want to be able to do it with a self-satisfied, cruel grin on my cold, dead lips. The key is simple: I've just got to decide which of the slimy bastard flesh-wastes that I've encountered on this planet deserves it most. So many choices, and only one ghost of me. Decisions, decisions...

I've got it. Oh, yes. And the best part is, he doesn't even exactly deserve it -- oh, this is just delicious. Yeah, okay -- here's the scoop:

When I first moved to Boston, I worked for a consulting company. I didn't go on the road myself; I worked on an internal group doing 'knowledge management'. (Whatever the hell that means -- 'document herding', it should have been called. But I digress.)

Anyway, when I was hired, I was to be working for one of the women who interviewed me -- she was technical, knowledgeable, seemed easy to work with. Fine. But by the time I got to Boston, there'd been a 'transition'. Poop.

See, what I found out later was this: the office manager -- not technical lead, or programmer, or even project manager; office manager -- of the office in Brazil, of all places, had so pissed off the locals (by cracking down on nepotism, reportedly) that he was recieving death threats. (I know, I know -- I couldn't make this shit up, believe me.)

So, his good friend and boss-of-my-boss decided to bring him back to the States, all the way up to Boston, and install him as the manager for the group I had just joined. The group doing nothing but programming, software customization, server configuration, web development, and interface design... none of which he knew the first damned thing about. Bee-youtiful.

Anyway, to make a long story slightly less excruciating, I spent six months working for this douchebag -- and I mean that in the best possible way, really. He really was a very nice person, if exceptionally naive and way too quick with the 'Aw, shucks' attitude. He even -- I shit you not -- quit, just before I did, to return to his farm in Virginia and write childrens books. Dead serious. See this face -- I'm not lying to you. Serious.

But a month or so into it, I developed this intense, burning, irrepressible hatred for the man. He wasn't qualified to do his job -- which is fine; most of us have been there once or twice -- but he wouldn't delegate, either, and he wouldn't learn.

The only people he would take advice from, and I mean only people, were software vendor sales reps. And if you know anything about these people, you know that it's their frigging job to get the software sold, regardless of whether the cost is agreed upon, or the program works, or whether anything actually freakin' exists or not. Most of 'em are selling snake oil, and the rest are just pulling features out of their ass until something sticks and they can make a sale.

(Honestly, there's a whole circle of Hell reserved just for these people -- they're gonna be told that they'll be spoonfed tapioca pudding for all of eternity, and then instead will have white-hot pokers jammed up their tuckuses for the rest of forever.

And if they complain, they'll be told, 'Oh, yeah, the spoon thing. That might come in the next version. Just hang on for a few millennia, and we'll have the developers work on that.'

And you know, that's still better than most of them deserve. But I digress.)

Anyway, this man's brazen, shameless incompetence and denial and wrongheaded direction-changing cost me six months of my life that would have been better spent beating my head against something large, flat, and very, very heavy. At least that would have been less frustrating -- I'd wake up and know, 'Okay, I'm gonna beat my head against that anvil for eight hours. Fine. I have a schedule, and reasonable expectations. Let's do it.'

But with this asstard at the helm, you never knew what the hell was gonna happen -- do this, don't do that. Why'd you do that; I didn't ask for that! Let's do this; the sales rep says this is what we should do. What? No, no, don't show me hard physical evidence to the contrary -- I don't want to hear about the laws of physics, man! My mind's made up! Full speed ahead!

So, yeah, that's the cluetard I'd haunt, all right. And I would scare the living bejeesus out of him, too, on a daily basis. I think it'd be fun just from a vindication standpoint for the first thirty years or so, and from then on, I'd just get a kick out of his screaming and whimpers and horrified sobbing. Maybe I could even get a sales rep of some kind to convince him that I was 'all in your head', so he wouldn't even try to get rid of me. Oh, yeah -- that'd be sweet.

But I'd hate to see the childrens books the fucker would write about that. 'Where's Waldo', you ask? In his basement, with a cross, praying to himself and weeping like a baby, that's where. Hah!

2. You are being punished by the gods. You've been naughty. As a punishment you are forced to become an inanimate object for one year. This means no interaction with the outside world at all, but you are completely aware of your surroundings and can hear, see and think. However, a sympathetic god intervenes and allows you a choice in the what and where you are. What do you decide?

I suppose a stripper's thong is out of the question, eh?

(And really, I don't know if I'd be interested in getting all up in that business, anyway. For one thing, there are two ends to a thong, from what I understand. Sure, the elastic bits and the front side might be fun for a while, but there's still the 'ass-floss angle' to consider. Besides, this is a stripper's thong -- or G-string; I'm not picky -- that we're talking about. Regardless of how I felt about the lovely lady herself, I'm gonna spend an awful lot of time on the floor of a strip club. Um, ew! No, really -- ew!!

Plus, those things almost certainly wear out inside of a year, with all that gyrating around and pole-rubbing. So I'd likely end up in a dumpster before the year was out, or nailed to some guy's wall. Yeah, the stripper thing is definitely out. If I'm bein' punished for ten minutes, maybe. A week -- I'd think about it. A lot. But a year... nah. Couldn't do it.)

So, what would it be, then?

Oh. Yeah, I got it. This one's easy.

I would spend my year as the right field foul pole at Fenway Park. Absolutely.

Think about it -- eighty-one baseball games, plus all the other events and behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on in the park that most people never see. And the view -- I'd have a completely unobstructed view of the whole field, and probably even the scoreboard. It's a baseball fan's dream!

And just think -- what if the Sox won the World Series that year? Think of the stories I could tell my friends when I turned back into a person:

Me: Dude, did you see that Game Seven? What a friggin' comeback!

Friend: Yeah, yeah -- we had a big party to watch it at my place. I called you -- where the hell were you?

Me: Dude, I was there! Right there -- I saw it all, in person! It was so sweet!

Friend: You went?! Damn! How'd you score tickets? That must've cost a fortune!

Me: No, man, it was all free. I had the best seat in the house, too.

Friend: Wha'? Did you get invited to a luxury box or something? How the hell?

Me: No, dude -- I was the Pesky Pole for a year! I watched Game Seven from thirty feet over Trot Nixon's head. It was fuckin' awesome!

Friend: Um... you know, I don't know where you really went last year, but it fucked with your head, dude. I can't even talk to you any more. Damn.

Okay, so that part might not work out so well. Hey, this was supposed to be a punishment, right? Still, I'd know what happened, and it'd be the best damned year a Sox nut like me could spend.

(And hey -- I would be a pole, after all. Maybe if we did win the Series, I could get some of those thonged-up strippers to swing on me to celebrate! Bonus!)

3. This one is Being Charlie Malkovich. Sort of. You can have up to 3 people making periodic visits into your brain for the next 5 years, and possibly (if they turn out to be the kind that would...) taking over your body for awhile. They could, if they so choose, take up permanent residence in your brain, and that means they may ALL take up permanent residence in your brain. Therefore, their personalities might involve in-house fighting that you can hear. Who do you choose and what happens? Maybe you should consult your wife and dog before you answer?

And who's to say I wouldn't choose my wife and dog to begin with, eh?

(Um, no. That's creepy on so many levels I don't know which direction to shudder in first.

Aw, hell, I'll just pick one at random: *shudder* Ick.

For the record, that was approximately north. Just in case you're keeping track of such things.)

Damn, I don't know about this one. Really, I think I have plenty enough voices in my head as it is. Hell, they've even started their own dictionary. Now that's twisted!

I suppose if I had to choose -- and you're gonna make me, aren't ya, Amber, ya big meanie? -- I'd start with someone really, really smart. Hey, how about Stephen Hawking? He hasn't had a body that works right in years -- I bet he'd love the chance to frolic around, skipping naked through buttercups and dousing himself in pancake syrup. And hey, I like those things, too! We'd get along great, and he could teach me all sorts of things, too. Yeah, Hawking's definitely in.

Lessee, who's next? Maybe someone to help me with that whole 'funny' thing, pull me out of my shell a little bit. Robin Williams? No, too fucked up. Lewis Black? Hmmm... nah, he's such an angry old man. Ooh, how about his tourmate last year, though -- Dave Attell? He's not my favorite comic in the world, but he's just the right level of 'fucked up' (i.e., only somewhat more than I am), and he's had that Insomniac show for a while, so I know he could teach me how to talk to strange and unusual people. And he likes to drink, which Hawking would never go for. Okay, that's it, then -- Attell's on board.

Now, what about the last spot? I should probably pick a woman -- you know, for that softer view on things.

(Not too soft, though. Ain't gonna have Paige frickin' Davis runnin' around between my ears, doing jumping jacks and giggling like a crack-snortin' circus clown, that's for damned sure. Doesn't that damned woman have an 'Off' switch, already?)

Ooh, how about Tina Fey from Saturday Night Live? She's cool, I bet -- and writes and acts on a major comedy sketch show; what's not to like? She's quite the hottie, too. Hey, maybe she'd dream about herself and I could watch -- bonus!

Wow. Look at that -- I could be smart, funny, and understand women. Well, one woman, anyway, and I'll take what I can get! Oh, I am so there -- gimme a call, Amber. Tell me how we make this thing happen, okay?

4. You are a woman for 24 hours. Describe your day.

Oh, sweet perky puffy pillows of passion, I'd never make it out of the bed...

Okay, okay, so you know how sometimes the truth hurts? Well, in this case, it wouldn't hurt -- oh, no, quite the contrary! -- but it's also not terribly interesting. So let's just pretend that I could get over the fact that my nipples were suddenly several inches further away, and no longer surrounded by curly little hairs.

(Frankly, I don't see how the hell I would, but let's assume for the sake of argument that I could. Somehow.)

Well, the first thing I do when I get up (after checking the overnight blog hit counts, of course) is take a shower. And that's gonna be one loooooong, steamy shower; there's simply no way around that. So let's say I get up around, I dunno, nine. My dance card is gonna be full until eleven, eleven-thirty, at least. No calls, and cancel all my morning appointments, thank you so much.

So, now it's lunchtime. Where would I go for my only lunch as a woman? Hmmmm... you know, call me perverted (yeah, like that's a shocker at this point), but I keep coming back to Hooters. A guy in a woman's body going to Hooters alone, and chatting with the table-waiting chicas who don't know it's really a man. Oh, baby... that's the stuff that really, really good dreams -- and really, really bad sitcoms -- are made of. Oh, yeah.

So, lunch -- check. What's next? What do women do that men can't, and that I'd actually enjoy, even a little bit? (You know, other than the shower stuff. I'm still not sure that wouldn't take me into mid-afternoon, but I'll try and move on, anyway.)

You know, I'm not sure what I'd do next, so I'll just give you a few things that I might do, depending on where I was at the time, and what time of year this little metamorphosis occurred:
  • There's a Curves downstairs from my office -- you know, the 'women only' gym with the frosted windows so you can't see in? I might take a tour through there, just to see what the hell I'm missing. 'No, no, let's see the locker room again... I really want to get a mental picture of what your locker room is like.'
  • Speaking of missing out on things, I would go into as many women's bathrooms as humanly possible. Not for (solely) perverted reasons, either -- guys, have you ever been inside a women's rest room? They're stunning -- all carved wood and chairs and couches... they're like opulent little meeting rooms. No wonder the females are flocking in there every ten damned minutes.
  • Of course, while I'm in the rest room, I think I'd just have to see if it's really that frickin' hard for you people to pee standing up. I swear, the amount of porcelain we could save by having less full-sized toilets on this planet... do you realize how many sinks and dolls and delicate statuettes aren't getting made every year, just because of you people?!
  • I'd definitely stay out of bars; no way I want some creepy guy like... I dunno, me, hitting on me while I'm a woman. Ooh, but wait -- what about a lesbian bar? Oh, that's a whole different story -- hitting on a woman from inside another woman's body? Oh, my word. I am simply overcome with the possibilities. I think I'm feeling the vapors -- perhaps I should lie down and think about this some more...
  • I'd have to find a way to piss asshatted people off, by doing something women aren't 'expected' to do -- maybe I'd shout down an asshole driver, or school some know-it-all dickhead about football. Or, I don't know, join the Army or something. Or just flash people in front of my house -- it's all good when you're a woman for a day!

So, I'm not sure how many of those things I'd actually accomplish, but some combination of those would get me well into the evening, anyway. And then, of course, it's time for a hot, steamery bubble bath, and a hop into bed. Maybe with some chocolate syrup or honey or something. Oh, sure, it'll get the body all sticky and stuff, but I've only got it for a day -- I wanna put some mileage on that puppy. Besides, it's just a 'rental'; let whoever gets it next worry about cleanin' up the mess. I'm on vacation!

5. You are suddenly morphed into a movie character and have to live the entire thing. What movie and what character?

Y'know, it's times like this that I really regret that I don't watch more porn.

(Fine. So I always regret that I don't watch more porn. What the hell do you want from me? It comes with the equipment. Deal.)

So which movie, and which character? Hmmm... you know, I've given this one a lot of thought. This is a toughie, I have to admit, though probably mainly because I don't watch a lot of movies.

(See, for instance, I have this nagging feeling that I should want to be one of the guys from Boogie Nights, because, well... Heather Graham's in it, and she's naked. So somebody's doing pretty damned well in that flick. But, I can't pick anyone from that movie, because I haven't seen it.

Which is astounding, because, well... Heather Graham's in it, and she's naked. Did I mention that? Naked. Full frontal, man. Damn.)

Anyway, after careful consideration, I think I'd have to go with Ricky Roma, Al Pacino's character in Glengarry, Glen Ross. (Bet you weren't expecting that, now, were you?)

So why that movie, and that character? Well -- as always -- there are plenty of reasons.

First, I'm gonna have to take time out of my busy, demanding schedule to live through some film, right? So why not make it a short one, timeline-wise? And Glengarry Glen Ross takes place in under a day, from opening scene to final curtain. I could step into it on Sunday morning, and be back in time to start the week. Sweet.

Also, though it feels a little out of character for me, it's one of my favorite movies -- and it's got a lot of actors I really like: Kevin Spacey, Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Jonathan Pryce... great cast, good bunch of guys to spend a day with.

Now, if you've seen the movie, you know that there's a lot of pressure -- and certainly, Ricky gets his share of that. But he's on top -- the big fish in his little pond. (Sure, a bigger fish in the form of Baldwin swims in and stirs things up, but really, he's not from their pond. He's in a much bigger pond; even a lake, perhaps. So that doesn't really count, frankly.)

I think it'd be a kick to walk around for a day, strutting around town, schmoozing and conning bozos with too much time and money on their hands. Sure, in the end, Ricky loses out on some cash. (I don't want to give too much away; if you haven't seen it, then stop reading this drivel and go get it. It's spectacular.) But he's still king of the hill in that situation -- cocky, aggressive, and hungry. That's not really me. But for a day? Yeah, that'd be pretty damned sweet. Observe:

'There's an absolute morality? Maybe. And then what? If you think there is, then be that thing. Bad people go to hell? I don't think so. If you think that, act that way. A hell exists on earth? Yes. I won't live in it. That's me. You ever take a dump made you feel like you'd just slept for twelve hours?'

'What you're HIRED for, is to help us... does that seem clear to you? To HELP US, not to... FUCK US UP... to help those who are going out there to try to earn a living... You fairy. You company man.'

Oh, yeah. I could do that. For one day? Lemme at it.

6. You're in the bathroom, and have just gone #2 (Well, it is your blog, after all...). Unfortunately for you, there is no toilet paper, kleenex, or paper towels in there with you. The ONLY things you have to choose from are:
a) Your only notes for a comedy show that you are performing for HBO that night.
b) Your wife's towel (no cheating...assume there is no way to wash/replace it)
c) Your dog. (See, it IS possible for others to be as sick as you are...just very few of us are as out of the closet as you.)

Ah, yes. Behold the power of poop. You fondle your mother with the fingers you used to type that, Amber? For shame, girl -- for shame!

Well, I already know the (boring) answer to this question, so let's look at the options one by one, starting from the bottom:

Let's just imagine for a moment that I decided to use the dog. Frankly, I don't even know how I'd go about that -- think about it. The logistics are staggering.

First of all, there's the matter of 'contiguous fur area'. She's got no fur at all on her undersides to speak of, so that area's out of play. It also wouldn't do me much good to wipe my ass with her tail, or a paw, or something spindly like that. That's not gonna help anybody, and it's just gonna end up getting on the walls. (I know, I know -- 'Ewwwww!' Look, I didn't ask for this question, people. Let's just get through this together, okay?)

So, clearly, whole sections of the dog are off-limits from a practical standpoint, right from the start. Next, there's the question of aesthetics -- if you saw the pictures I posted recently, you'll know that my dog is mainly a dark brindle color. Not entirely unlike the hue of a good healthy turd, as it happens. (And remind me never to show Amber pictures of my precious puppy again.)

But she's also got some white spots, on her face and chest. And -- seeing as how the goal in all of this would be to get away with it -- I think plastering poo on the white spots would be a dead giveaway. My options for using the dog are dwindling quickly.

Basically, what I'm left with is finding a way to position the widest part of her back just beneath my ass, and somehow manage to accomplish 'wiping' without her moving, me falling, or either of us loudly howling at the horror of it all. Frankly, I don't see it happening. I'm not nearly smart enough to figure that out, and I know I'm not limber enough. It'd all end with a strained back, and squished dog, and a big long brown streak on the bathroom tile. No dice.

How about the towel, then? I have to admit, I've got a bit of a loophole with this option -- we really don't have our own towels that we claim beforehand. It's just the luck of the draw every morning as to who gets what. So what we'd really be talking about is a used towel, already wet and soggy from her toweling-off routine. And that makes it a much more attractive option.

Still, having said that, there'd really be no place to hide the towel after I 'used' it myself. We don't have a hamper or clothes basket in the bathroom, and damned if I'm gonna carry a shitty towel to my closet and dump it in with my boxers and rugbies. (Okay, let's all say it together this time: 'Ewwwww!')

My best bet with the towel would be some creative folding to hide the 'business' somewhere on the insides. But that would just get sticky and nasty, and then there's the smell, and the dog would be all interested in it, and... you know, I think I've had enough. No towel, either, okay? I just finished lunch here, and I don't wanna think about the towel any more.

So, the boring answer (which you're all wishing I'd have started -- and ended -- with) is that I'd use the notes. For one thing, that's the closest I could get to my 'normal' routine for that sort of activity, and I think the notes would make it down the drain, leaving no evidence of my little doody dilemma.

Plus, if the show was that night, I wouldn't need notes any more. I tend to prepare well in advance -- even for the piddly little shows I'm doing now -- so on the day of the show, I'd already be as funny as I was gonna get.

(Well, except that I could then add a joke about wiping my ass with my jokes that day -- and bathroom jokes always kill on HBO. They eat that shit up.

Not... not literally, you understand. That wasn't a bathroom joke itself. I was just saying... you know, can we just move on, and pretend this question never happened? I'm just a little uncomfortable now, and my dog is giving me a really weird, frightened look. Next question!)

7. You have the option to give up your sense of humor in exchange for losing your worst quality. Do you and if so, what is it?

Um, I thought my sense of humor was my worst quality. This sounds a lot like killing two birds with one stone. Could you repeat the question?

Okay, never mind. I think I get it now.

I suppose I'd first have to figure out what my absolute worst quality is. And that's a toughie -- I mean, so many vices and faults and shortcomings to choose from! And I love 'em all -- don't make me choose just one!

No, really. Wow. What is my worst quality? That's a real noggin-licker. But you know what? I'm thinking that whatever I would pull out of the list -- cynicism, shyness, chronic tardiness, elitism, low self-esteem, rampant obsessiveness, unruly hair, kinky deviant sexu-- *ahem*! That is to say, no matter what I would pull out of the list and raise up as my worst quality, I wouldn't trade my sense of humor for it.

For one thing, I really like my sense of humor. (Even if no one else does. Bastards.)

And for another, look at that list again -- now imagine it with just one thing missing. You think a whacked-out nutjob with all those problems couldn't use a sense of humor? You bet your rosy-cheeked ass he could! That, and a couple of pitchers of margaritas, just for starters.

So, no dice. As much as I'm sure many of you would like to see my sense of humor magically whisked away, it's gonna take more than 'meaningful personal improvement and growth' to make it happen. Get rid of my worst quality? Harrumph. I might add a few more problems, just out of spite for having had to answer the question. Now how does that grab ya?

8. You are forced to relay your MOST embarrassing moment on your blog. What is it and who of your readers gives you the most crap for it?

Well, clearly, based on these questions, the answer to the second question is obvious: YOU would give me the most crap about whatever I write about. More than Andy, more than nef, more than Shelley, Jeff or Natalie. Even more than TJ. (Hell, both of 'em!) Monkey might give you a run for your money, now that she's back, but I'd still give you the edge -- you've got the momentum.

But let's humor you, and put this little contest to the test, shall we? I'll just think of the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to me in the whole wide world, and just hork it out here on my blog, so you can have a nice little chuckle. That's your little game, is it? Fine. Strap in, then. We're goin' on a little ride.

The year is 1978. I'm in the third grade, and I'm generally pretty bored. Or hyper, or precocious, or whatever you want to call it. In any case, I don't pay attention much, run my mouth a lot, and tend to spaz out at weird times. (Yeah, yeah, I hear ya -- 'so what's changed?' Regular laugh fucking riot, you are. Har de har, there, spunkycheeks.)

Anyway, if I may continue, I still managed to get my shit together enough to do well in school. So maybe I was bored, after all -- I don't know. I'm no child psychologist. All I know is that the teacher of that class -- a Mrs. Stone, I believe it was -- did all she could to keep me occupied, so I didn't disrupt the rest of the students.

(And no, she didn't 'occupy' me that way, you big perv!

You're thinking of eighth grade. Oh ho ho, Ms. Johnson... clean those erasers, baby. Smack 'em together like a good little educator... mmmm hmmm...

Um. Uh... yeah. Sorry. Back to Mrs. Stone's class, then. Yes. Ahem.)

So, one of the teach's main weapons was to let me read to the class. Of course, during reading lessons we'd all have a go, and she'd note the students' progress. But then there was 'story time', where she'd just read to us, and all we had to do was sit and listen and try not to fall asleep. It was a little like being in Congress, actually, only with fewer spitballs and noisy farts.

Anyway, I was a way better reader than anyone else in the class. I mean, I'm not bragging or anything -- hey, if you can read at a fifth grade level, you get to strut your stuff around the playground a little bit, you know what I'm saying?

(Come to think of it, if I could still read at a fifth grade level, I might get more strutting done now. I've really got to get back to those 'Hooked on Phonics' tapes...)

So, it was kind of a big deal when 'da Stoner' would ask me to read to the class for her during story time. I got to go up front and sit on her desk while she graded papers or changed clothes or snorted crack or whatever the hell she did instead of reading. I dunno; I never looked back -- my audience was in front of me, rapt with attention and hanging on every word. It was heaven, for everyone involved -- the kids could just sit there and drool, I could show off my mad readin' skillz, and the teacher could cool her heels, with me guaranteed to be good, for twenty minutes or so. Perfect. So, she let me read to the class several times.

Until 'it' happened, that is. And I think it's got to be pretty obvious what 'it' is likely to be at this point, so I'll cut right to the chase.

I was reading in front of the class one day -- the Hardy Boys, I think it was -- merrily skipping along, page after page, when it hit me:

'I've really got to pee.'

But that's all right, I told myself. I'm a 'Big Boy™' now; I can hold it until story time is over, and then I'll ask to go. No problem. Read, read, read, read, read...

'Um, yeah, that's all well and good... but I've really got to go. I'm not kidding.'

Shit. (Okay, I was eight -- I probably said, 'Poop' or something. Fine.) Look, I've only got a few more pages to go until the end of the chapter, and then I can go. Just be cool down there, and we'll get through this.

'Look -- I'm with you and all, but I don't think you understand. This is gonna happen. Soon.'

Dammit, I'm busy! Just hold on for --

'Captain, she canna' take much more!'

Would you just be patie--

'Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! Danger!'

Oh, damn, damn, damn. Just a page and a half to go. Hold it, hold it...

'We have a jailbreak situation -- the prisoners have breached the inner wall. It won't be long until they're free! Guards! Guards!'

Look, I'm turning the last page! Just... just... uh-oh.

'Ahhhhhhhhhh.... oh, yeah. That's the spot... Whoooooo...'

And that was it. I mistimed my narrative, overestimated my capacity, and piddled my pants in front of twenty people that I'd never be able to look in the face again. I don't remember ever being asked to read for the class again, either. (Of course, to be fair, I might have just blocked it out -- I really don't care to recall much of the next six or seven years, frankly. Kids can be so cruel when you pee your pants in front of them while sitting on the teacher's desk. Lousy little bastards.)

So, there you go. My lowest moment, and you slurped it right out of me. I hope to hell you're happy; I'm shaking my head and wibbling just thinking about it now. I just... I --- no, that's it. No more. I can't say any more. This interview is over. I'm done, I'm gettin' drunk. Buh-bye now. Shoo. Whose fuckin' idea was this, anyway?

Holy mother of Manny Sanguillen, I'm done! Damn, that was a lot of work. And hopefully, I've done these questions justice. And ended this thing for a while -- these interview things just get weirder and weirder.

Hey, come to think of it, though -- I said that I wouldn't be able to give out any more questions for a while... but Amber certainly seemed to enjoy gettin' all up in mah bidness with these, didn't she? Tell you what -- if you enjoyed this little trip down 'Twilight Zone Lane', go ask her for an interview. Yeah! Let's see if she's as brain-fried and slobbery after she thinks of seventy-five of these little puppies. Woot! Yes!

That's it -- everybody over to Amber's place. Pile the comments onto her answers to my questions, and let's see if she can deliver! This is a kegger bash, baby, not a 'I'll go for one beer' night. It's all about the stamina!

(Or the re-revenge. Stamina, revenge... eight of one, half dozen of the other. Just get over there and ask for questions, would ya?

I know, I know -- I'm sick of interviews, too, already. But somebody's gotta teach her a lesson, right? I spilled my guts about the third-grade peepee pants, fer Chrissakes! We can't let her do this to me!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
It's a Hiccup in the Schedule -- Just a Hiccup!

Hey, all.

Sorry to have nothing more than this to say today.

And hell, it's not even today, technically. I'm backdating it an hour or two to pretend it's still Wednesday.

But please, know this -- I'm thinking of you, even at this late (early) hour.

And I'll make it up to you, sooner rather than later -- I just got back from my show at the 'On the Hill Tavern', and I'll be posting my (less then professionally recorded) set soon.

I'm also working on a monster -- and I do mean monster post with answers to new interview questions from Amber. (Yeah, I thought I was done with that shit, too... but you know how it goes. You'll see -- I'll try and make it worth the effort, anyway.)

But for now -- at 1:30 Thursday morning -- it's all I can do to backdate this post and get the hell to bed, where my lovely and infinitely patient wife awaits. I'll see you tomorrow (today), and you'll have more than you can handle to read, let me assure you. Sleep well, dear readers -- you're gonna need that rest. I know I will. G'night!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
King Me, Baby!

As I mentioned earlier, I've thrown my hat into the ring for the latest King of the Blogs competition, hoping to turn said hat into a crown, scepter, and lots and lots of dancing girls. (I mean, 'loyal subjects' Subjects. What did I say, anyway?)

So, this week's 'Challenge Question' is:

'Why do you deserve the King (or Queen) of the Blogs title, and why don't your adversaries?'

Well, let's jump right in with both feet, and any other appendages that we think might be helpful. Shall we?

First, I think you have to ask yourself this question: If you were living in a monarchy yourself, then what kind of a king would you want?

Seriously, we're talking about the king of all the blogs here. As bloggers and blog readers yourselves, you have a duty -- nay, a responsibility -- nay, nay, really just a passing interest, come to think of it -- to consider this question. And while you're chewing on that, I'll tell you what I think about the whole thing. ('Cause that's my job around here.)

Personally, I think I'd want in a king what women nearly universally say they want in a man -- a sense of humor.

(Yeah, yeah, I know they're just saying that. Work with me here, dammit!)

But think about it -- do you really want one of those sourpuss despots running around, burning villages and whisking away dissidents? Nah -- that shit gets old really fast. Or how about a boring, efficient ruler -- all tax decrees and proclamations, but no court jesters? Bo-ring. And don't even get me started on those 'absolute power corrupts absolutely' types, spending cash for all the fun stuff -- including the dancing girls, dammit! -- but keeping it all for themselves. I say, if you can't bring enough for the whole class, leave that shit at home, Your Highness. Nobody likes a damned hoarder.

Anyway, that's my two cents on what kind of a king the blogosphere should have. And frankly, if you peruse the other candidates this week -- and I definitely encourage you to do so -- I'm afraid that you won't find much of the humor (or 'humour', for our out-of-town friends) and compassion and sharing (it's okay -- I'm disease-free!) that I would bring to the kingly table. Really, check them out -- there's a lot of politics, and religion, and media commentary, and... um, 'lawyeriness'; but where's the fun, man? Those people can't love you like I do, folks -- there's just no contest. No, verily. Look for yourselves. I royal-steed-shit you not.

Don't get me wrong, of course. I'm sure that all of the other contestants are nice folks. They probably call their mothers regularly, and help old ladies across the street, and I'm sure they're all really funny, if you just got to know them.

(Well, okay, all except this guy. And while I hate to pop an aside in here to deal with this cluetard, I really think it'll be a lot of fun. His KotB post is a series of rambling rants -- a veritable Volkswagenful of vitriol -- about why 'everybody sucks but me'. He seems to be quite the 'angry young man'; he even refused to link to the other entries. Oooooh. *yawn*

I skimmed a couple of paragraphs at the top before getting bored, so I scrolled down to see how he felt about this site. And oh, I was ever so disappointed that he wasn't happy with his user experience. A few points he made, for your entertainment:
  • 'Boy is this a piece of work. Please forgive me if I loose it here...' -- well, lessee, champ -- missing a comma and a misspelling in your first fifteen words. And here I thought you were blogging for Bush, not blogging like Bush. Please, do go on.
  • 'My biggest gripe about your " pretender" website is simple- it lacks purpose.' -- don't you lie to the nice people, there, skippy. I plainly state that the purpose of this site is to make people laugh. How simple can it be?
  • 'Look, no one cares about your damn pathetic life or trivial problems.' -- dude, check your hit counts before you spout nonsense like that. I own your ass. Please.
  • '*blah blah* if it ain't political, I don't understands it... *blah blah* something about Blogger... *blah blah* more misspelled words...' -- you know, I gotta be honest; I really didn't read through the rest of it, and I'm bored with this bit already. Picking on other people gets old to me pretty damned fast. I really don't see how someone makes a whole blog out of it. Tsk.

Sorry about all that, folks. But it seemed like fun before it just got sad and cranky. Sort of how I imagine sex with Paris Hilton would be, but that's beside the point. But I did get my bile out for -- I dunno, the month, maybe -- and there's nothing in the contest rules that says we can't respond to another contestant's douchebag post, so there it is. And now I need a shower. Ick.

Enough of that, I say! Make with the merriment again! *clap clap* See? I've got this kingly shit down-pat already. Hail, me!)

Anyway, back to my point -- I alone am the man who can assume the kingship of the blogs, and make it fun. And happy subjects are loyal subjects, my friends. (Just like happy dancing girls are loyal dancing girls -- always with the dancing girls around here...) Would any of the other contenders decree a 'Everybody Change Your Passwords to 'Foo' for a Day' free-for-all? Clearly, no. How about the 'Party at Wil Wheaton's House, Whether He Knows It or Not' proclamation? I doubt it. And the 'Blog While Covered in Chocolate Syrup Day'? Look, they'd just never think of it, that's all. It's not their fault, really.

So that's why I, above the others, deserve -- nay, command -- oops, nay again, want -- the title of King of the Blogs. We've had enough despots and tyrants, folks -- it's time to put the 'Oy!' back in royalty. Now who's up for some chocolate syrup?

Monday, January 26, 2004
No, 'Old McDonald' Does Not Count

So. something struck me as I was driving home tonight.

(No, not a rock, or another car, or a giant sturgeon falling out of the space station. That last one's for you Simpsons fans -- remember the mechanic, when they took the car in, with the fish embedded in the hood?

'Well... there's yer problem.'

Ah, Simpsons. Will your animated adventures never cease?)

Anyway, back to my decidedly non-animated life, and the thought that struck me as I drove home.

Last week, I spent time and effort and way too many brain cells thinking up ridiculous questions for people's interviews -- fifteen interviews times five outlandish questions equals seventy-five brain-bending, head-scratching, 'what the fuck is Charlie smoking these days, anyway?' kinds of questions. But that's not the point.

The point is that I came up with all of these questions, and completely neglected to ask anyone the one off-the-wall, 'out there' question that I most often ask myself. Just slipped my mind, I guess.

(Not that it's difficult to slip my mind these days. I think my brain's been greased up, Teflon-coated, and slathered in baby oil. In a completely platonic, non-sexual way, of course. If such a thing is possibly when you're talking about baby oil slatheration.

I'm not entirely convinced, I have to admit. Everything gets a little 'thexier' when you're rubbing baby oil into it. Grandma, the neighbor's cat, a nice big watermelon -- really, it doesn't matter. Something in the oil, I suspect.)

Anyway -- running screaming from the mental image of me rubbing down grannykins while Mr. Whiskers from next door and an oversized melon look on expectantly -- I was a little disappointed at first about forgetting the question, because it should have been so easy to come up with. But then I realized that this is much better -- now lots of people can get to answer it, instead of just one! So, if you're up for it, here's my single 'asinine interview question to the world':

Imagine that someone comes up behind you, right this minute, puts a gun to your head, and says,

'Sing one song that was actually produced and performed by a real band or singer in the last fifty years -- no nursery rhymes, traditional folk songs, TV show themes, instrumentals, or anything like that. You can sing off-key -- within reason -- but you have to sing all the words in the song, in the right order, and in the right places, or I'll kill you, right now.'

So, the question is: what song do you know, absolutely cold, backward and forward, so well that you'd risk your life on your ability to sing absolutely every word of it without fail?

Once you've come up with a song -- and really play along; if there are songs out there with one or two words or something like that, exclude those. Pick a 'proper' song, at least a couple of minutes long. Then try it -- sing it once, as soon as you've picked it, all the way through, and see whether you'd make it out of this hypothetical dilemma alive.

To be fair, I'll answer the question myself. And I'll tell you that I didn't make it the first couple of times I tried it. There was always a word or two in every song that I 'sang through', but realized I didn't know, or I'd put the chorus where they change one word in the wrong place, or something... it was always something. I had my pretend-brains hypothetically splattered all over the simulated wall more than once.

Finally, though, I found my song. I'm admittedly a little rusty right now, but for at least a couple of years, I could sing (to myself, of course; no need to create panic and fear among the masses) Waitress in the Sky by the Replacements as faithfully as my warbly voice would allow. I was ready for that man with the gun, but it took several trial runs, and a few song changes.

And maybe you'll have the same thing happen. Anyway, let me know what you pick, and how you do. I want to hear what happens -- okay, okay... I want to hear about what happens. I've seen some of you say that you cannot sing, and -- as someone who also makes the same claim -- I tend to take that sort of thing at face value. So no MP3s of your efforts, please. Words will be just fine, thanks.

Yes, It's Another 'State of the Blog' Post

Deal with it, man -- there's a lot of shit going on around here these days, and I would just burst if I didn't tell you about it.

No, really. Burstage. I would be so burstated. No question. Total burstitality. Dude. No lie.

All right, let's get this over with, all right? I don't like this semi-serious crap any more than you do, so I'll try to keep it short. Here goes:

First, an update on the interview questions that I mentioned in my last 'blog housekeeping' post. Here's the tally so far:

Those With Honor (who have posted their answers):

Jon of Quality Control: answers here
Joe of Play By Play: answers here
Natalie of Natalieville: answers here
Mark of R80o: answers here
Marti of Marti's Blog: answers here
Erin of Chix Mix: answers here
Faith of Faith Wild: answers here
Rae of A Likely Story: answers here
Dinky of Dinky's Docket: answers here
Susan of Third Daughter: answers here
Amber of Learn to Speak Ebenese: answers here
JavaJenn of Mommy Needs Coffee: answers here

Those With Less Honor So Far (who've had the questions for days now, but haven't yet answered):

Eka of SnazzyKat
nv of Advanced Maternal Age
Cometgrrrl of Adventures of Cometgrrrl and Comet

So, if you see any of the first group of people, give 'em a pat on the back and a hearty 'Well done!' for slogging through such oddball bizarre questions. And if you see any of the people in the second group, particularly if they're spending leisure time doing something else -- like shopping, or writing something else, or breathing, dammit -- tell 'em to get the hell on the ball and get those questions addressed already! I spent a lot of time making those questions difficult and painful, and I wanna see them answered! I'm not just interviewing people for my health, you know.

Moving on. I'll lump the 'extrablogicular' activities in which I'm involved into one section, to save time. As a matter of fact, I'll just list them, with a short comment on each.

(Right, like I know how to post a 'short comment' on anything, much less myself. That's like telling those Lord of the Rings people to make a 'short movie'. Not likely. Anyway, here's the list:
  1. Blog Madness: After much anticipation, the contest is under way, starting today! I'm seeded #23 in the Bills Region -- apparently, neither the seed nor the bracket section have any significance, but neither really sound good, do they? Anyway, in the first round, my post Can I Buy a Damned Clue, Please? is up against Blow Stuff Up from The Boston Diaries. Check 'em both out, and vote for the one you like better. Hell, go read all the entries, and vote in all the brackets. What the hell else were you gonna do all day, anyway?
  2. Blogger Idol: The second week of Blogger Idol has begun; a new topic has been selected, and the posts are trickling in. (I've even finished mine; who says I'm not a go-getter?) It's a fun little topic-themed postfest, so check out all of this week's entries. And last week's, too, while you're at it. What the hell were you planning on doing tomorrow, anyway?
  3. King of the Blogs: The results of the last King of the Blogs contest are now available, which means the next round has begun! And I'm in the next round, so watch out! I'm a little fuzzy on the schedule of events, but I believe the 'Judge's Challenge' question will be posted soon, and I'll need to respond to that. Stay tuned for all the action.
  4. The Bloggies: In case you'd forgotten -- and don't believe for a second that I'd let that happen -- voting for the Bloggies is open until the 31st of January. So pop over, and vote for your faves, find some cool new reads, and get the scoop on what's 'hot' in the blogging world these days. Less than a week to go -- what the hell are you waiting for, anyway?

Okay, last section -- I'll wrap this up quickly, I promise. I know you folks have a lot of spam filtering to get back to. (See? You should be thanking me for this crap. Meh.)

Anyway, two quick notes about the actual content here on this site. (What? Actually alerting us to real content? The hell you say!)

First, the clip of my 'mini-set' at the All Asia Cafe on Sunday night is online. It's old material, and a really short clip, but hey -- if you haven't seen it, it's new to you, right? Where's the love, folks?

The other thing, about which I'm particularly proud -- is that I finally got off my ass and installed a tagline rotator. There are about fifty of my favorite taglines from this list (plus a couple of new ones) in the hat, and a new one gets plucked out each time you reload the page. So, if you don't like the little snippet of text underneath the blog title right now, just refresh it until you get one you can stomach. Or until you've seen 'em all six times each, and give up in disgust. Eight of one, half dozen of the other, dude.

So, that's it -- thank you kindly for suffering through another of these periodic 'informational' posts. I'll be back later today with your regularly-scheduled yuk-yuks, as soon as I can think of something funny to tell you. (Or until I make up random ridiculous shit, and hope you snicker at it, even out of pity. I'm not picky here, folks.) And in the meantime, you'll hopefully get some mileage out of the links above. There's some good shit out there, folks. Come back later, and I'll try to be good, too. Peace out!

Sunday, January 25, 2004
Freedom Never Looked So Good! (Or Scared the Neighbors So Much!)

Well, folks, it's Blogger Idol time again. The week two topic is up, hot off the presses, and I'm here to answer the call.

(For those of you unfamiliar with the Blogger Idol concept, just click on one of these Blogger Idol links I keep posting, and see for yourself what Blogger Idol is all about. That's Blogger Idol -- ask for it by name.)

So, without further stalling because I haven't decided about what to write about yet... here's your Blogger Idol post for the week. Enjoy!

(Click to see all Week Two posts)

Week Two Topic: 'Freedom'

Freedom, to me, is a bit of a tricky problem. (Or a 'sticky wicket', if you prefer. But really, folks, if your wicket is feeling sticky in any way, you really should go see your doctor. There's no shame in getting well, folks. And we only have the one wicket apiece; once it's gone -- or irretrievably sticky -- there's no going back. Remember that.)

(Okay, so I said no more stalling, right? Sorry. I'll be getting on with it now.)

I suppose the trouble with talking about freedom is really defining the scope of what you mean. I have a feeling that most people -- most Americans, anyway -- who answer this question may discuss the various merits and advantages of living in a country with certain well-defined freedoms, and what those freedoms mean to them. And that's all well and good. But it's only one kind of freedom, then, isn't it?

See, any organization to which you belong -- country, religion, school, 'Frequent Fondlers Club' at your local booby bar, whatever -- is going to offer you certain 'freedoms'. (And in the case of the last example, free lap dances after every fifth table dance -- woo hoo!)

Of course, with each of the freedoms comes responsibility, too -- if you want to speak freely, then you're going to have to listen to ridiculous mind-numbing claptrap sometimes, too. If you want to attend church services, you've got to follow the rules, particularly the one about 'No Streaking'. (They're very adamant about that one, I've found.) If you want to live in the university dorms, you've got to refrain from peeing in the shower stalls. (Or at least, not get caught peeing in the shower stalls.) And if you want to sit up front by the stage and talk to the strippers, you've got to keep buying drinks, and slip the girls an occasional fiver in their G-strings. (Um... from what I hear, anyway. From friends. I mean, friends of friends. Acquaintances of friends, really. Almost strangers. Ahem.)

Anyway, I think it's this yin and yang of 'freedom' versus 'responsibility' that's important. Once you've figured that out, you find that really, when you get right down to it, we have freedom to do anything. It's just those pesky responsibilities that might get us pimp-slapped -- or worse -- for exercising those freedoms.

Think about it -- all those groups that we belong to, none of them really says that we can't do anything. They just have this little fine-print statement up front that says, 'If you join, you have to play by our rules', and then they lay out what the consequences are for doing certain things. You agree to be responsible for following the punishment they set out if you break a rule... but nobody said you don't have the freedom to break it, if you want to. You're just responsible for paying the piper if you step out of line.

(Or the priest, or policeman, or big hairy bouncer, depending on where you choose to run wild. Personally, I'd rather deal with the piper, but I don't know what the hell kind of organization puts a 'piper' in charge to begin with. Scotland, maybe?

Oh, and if 'piper' is some sort of vague sexual euphemism, then I reserve the right to change my answer. Probably have to go with the bouncer at that point -- if I can manage to get out the door before he shreds me for hanging Barrel of Monkeys toys off the ass-floss part of the stripper's G-strings, then I'm safe.

This is all highly theoretical, all right? I don't even have Barrel of Monkeys monkeys any more. On the other hand, now I know Amazon has them. Hmmm. I'll keep you posted.)

Anyway, that's the crux of 'freedom' to me - we've all got the freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want, and while wearing as little clothing as we want. As a (mostly) fully-functional sentient biped, there's absolutely nothing stopping me from -- just as a 'for instance' -- stripping down to a pair of sweat socks, putting on a silver tiara, running out onto the lawn, and doing the 'Snoopy dance' while singing 'I Love a Parade' at the top of my lungs. (I know, sounds like fun, doesn't it?)

But I do know that I have responsibilities to various groups, under whose jurisdiction such behavior would fall. Now, some of them would probably let me slide. As a nation, for instance, I don't believe that the United States has specific legislation regarding 'nearly-nude lawn gyrations'. I could be wrong; I haven't read all the relevant case law, but I'm pretty sure that the federal government would turn the other cheek to my shenanigans. (Although I know of a few Senators who'd probably like to watch. But that's a whole different set of dance steps. I digress.)

The city I live in, of course, probably has some very specific ideas about folks who wiggle their wieners around in public -- the socks, singing, and Snoopy-shaking notwithstanding -- and I'd likely have to deal with the local cops at some point to find out exactly what those rules are. Come to think of it, maybe I'd want to check out those laws beforehand -- maybe there's some sort of loophole I could exploit. Like putting a fence around the yard first, or wearing the socks in a different way. We could probably work out some sort of compromise that keeps everyone happy, and would still allow me to frolic more or less unfettered.

In the end, it's a different sort of responsibility that would probably prevent me from performing my little 'freedom experiment'. I'm married, you see -- several years ago, I promised to 'honor' and 'obey' my wife, among lots of other stuff; blah, blah, blah -- and I don't think she'd approve of naked vaudeville of this sort on our lawn. Even the back lawn, and even if I weren't technically naked, what with the socks and tiara and all. (She's tough that way. Real stickler when it comes to these sorts of things.)

On the other hand, this is freedom we're talking about, right? It's only the most sacred concept of all -- and I don't recall hearing anything in our wedding vows that specifically outlawed twirling my twiddly bits all over the back yard. (Of course, I may have missed that part. I think I dozed off for just a minute near the end. I'll have to watch the tape one of these days.)

And anyway, I can't very well 'disobey' my wife if I don't tell her what I'm doing first, right? Surely, she can't take away my freedom to do something she doesn't know about. And that's what 'freedom' is all about -- you have the responsibility to face the consequences afterward, but up front, we're free to make any decision, and sing any song, and wear any headgear, that we see fit. In a way, we are all absolutely free. (Intoxicating, ain't it?)

So maybe I would perform my little experiment, after all. I think we've established that there's nothing stopping me, as long as I'm willing to pay my penance after the fact. And if I play my cards right, I'll only have the wife to deal with. Hmmm... you know, she's in the other room working right now. She can't even see the back yard from there. And if I turned on the stereo, it'd drown out anything I might yell or sing out there.

Huh. I never thought of that. And here I am, already wearing sweat socks, and with plenty of 'free' time on my hands. Spooky.

Listen, I've... I've gotta go. Thanks for reading about what 'freedom' means to me. I hope you enjoyed it. I've got to go.. um, do something now. Nothing in particular -- just stuff. I'll... uh, I'll see you later. Bye, now.

(Lessee now... got the socks, check. Song lyrics -- check. What's next?

Honey! Hey, honey! Is your tiara still in the attic?

Well, never mind why -- I'm on a mission, dammit! It's time I exercised a little freedom around here!)

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