September 30, 2003
So, the other day I was checking my blog email account and I'd received a comment from an address I didn't recognize. Now, if you comment at all, you know that I at least try to keep up with them. I opened this particular one and I was pretty surprised to find someone asking about the size of my penis. Now, if this had been from a regular, I might have answered, but the more I looked, the more I realized that someone had unleashed a can of spam whoop-ass in my comments (thus my brand new word - I think - spamments). I was double-offended - a) someone unknown to me had questioned my manliness without even introducing themselves first, and b) the same person was using my blog as free advertising. Of course, I wiped this out quickly, but then I began to wonder. Does this happen often? Anyone?
Stupid Is As Stupid Does
Anne recently hurt herself and I mentioned a similar incident without explanation. I figured it was time to let you know what kind of dumb-ass I actually am.
About five years ago, my wife and I had my parents over to our place for dinner. We whipped up something for the main course and my parents brought dessert. As I recall, it was a pie or something with vanilla Hagen Dazs ice cream. Long after my parents went home and we cleaned up, we were lying in bed reading and I got the sudden urge for more ice cream. It was around midnight and admittedly I wasn’t thinking all that clearly. Now, please remember that Hagen Dazs is, for some reason, the hardest ice cream known to man. Its like the diamond of dairy products. While I understood this, I DID NOT do the following things:
- Pop the pint of ice cream in the microwave to defrost it a little bit
- Grab the nearest ice cream scoop and heat it up under hot water
- Let the pint of ice cream sit on the counter for a few minutes to thaw, or
- Forget the whole thing and go back to bed
No, instead, I reached into the silverware drawer and picked up the first table knife I could find (see where this is headed yet?). Using the knife, I tried cutting into the ice cream. I’m not sure to this day what I thought I’d actually accomplish. Needless to say, the knife made it through the ice cream rather well. Unfortunately, it also made it through one of the fingers I was holding the pint of ice cream with. I believe my single comment to the event was, “shit!” My wife, from the bedroom, asked me what was wrong and I slowly made my way into the bedroom, towel wrapped around my hand. I calmly told her that I thought I’d really hurt myself and she asked me to show her. I said no, that she’d make me go to the hospital if I did. She said she felt certain that wouldn’t be necessary (I can overreact at times – I think she thought this was one of them). Then she looked at my wound. We went to the hospital.
The hospital was actually not that bad. It was a Sunday night/Monday morning and I was the only patient in the emergency room. I had the complete attention of both doctors on duty as well as the nursing staff, all of whom quizzed me on the finer points of my story, confirming details with my wife. We finally figured out that they were convinced this was no innocent ice cream incident (who’d be that dumb?). They were certain we’d had some kind of table knife-wielding domestic dispute. It took them a while before they realized I was just that stupid.
They sewed me up, referred me to a surgeon, my hand was unusable for about six weeks, physical therapy was conducted and I eventually learned how to use the damn thing again. I still don’t have feeling in part of the finger but, after everyone learned what I’d done to myself, I was given plenty of ice cream scoops.
September 29, 2003
Where's The Negativity?
For those of you who enjoy language as much as I do, here's some amusing Monday morning reading entitled "How I Met My Wife," by Jack Winter Published July 25, 1994 in The New Yorker.
It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.
I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way. I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito.
Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable.
Only toward and heard-of behaviour would do. Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim.
I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion. So I decided not to risk it.
But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads and tails of. I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen.
Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated as if this were something I was great shakes at, and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times.
So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings. Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous.
Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d'oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself. She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savoury character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. "What a perfect nomer," I said advertently.
The conversation became more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal.
We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.
Weekend Movie Report
In between buying cars and digital cameras, we managed to squeeze a couple movies in, courtesy of Netflix. Well, one and a half movies, truth be told.
We got all indie and decided to watch Kids. Verdict? Pure crap. To say it sucked would be making the understatement of the century. I'll steal a line from Good Morning Vietnam which may just suffice. I'd say that Kids "sucked the sweat off a dead man's balls." As Forest Whittaker's character said in the movie, "I'm not sure exactly what that means but it can't be good." The movie was basically this:
Boy has sex with virgins > Boy talks to everyone he knows, in lurid, crass detail about having sex with said virgins > Girls talk amongst themselves about sex, again in lurid crass detail > Girl has HIV test > Girl turns out to have HIV > Girl got HIV from virgin-conqueror Boy > Boy and friends do much druggage and beat up several people > Girl tries to do the right thing and tell boy > Viewer hits the STOP button on the remote control.
And while that might sound like a promising premise, its just so crass and tasteless that its violently uncomfortable to watch - which I'm sure was part of the reaction the director was going for. If the acting were decent, I'd have stuck with it. If the characters were even slightly likable, I'd have thought twice about hitting STOP halfway through. If the fake documentary style had worked for the movie instead of against it, maybe I would have given it more of a chance.
The good news is that The Ring was actually pretty decent. Very creepy. Creepy in a holy-christ-why-am-I-watching-this-if-I-ever-plan-to-sleep-again kind of way.
Apologies for the lack of posts. Frankly, I didn't have all that much to say on Friday. And the weekend? Well...
First, I want to know why buying a car has to be such a long, draining experience. And we didn't even have to argue all that much - we're nothing if not well-informed consumers. Regardless, the process took somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 hours but ended with us driving off in this:
Second, we finally broke down and bought a digital camera. If I manage to catch anything interesting, I'll be sure and post it here. Gotta keep you guys entertained!
September 25, 2003
Busy Day...And Thanks!
Its going to be one of those days. Today, I'm The Man. Not a "you da man" type of guy but more of a "working for The Man" kind of person. I have meetings to lead and projects to run. Lucky me. Sadly, I feel like crap today so this should be a really fun day!
On a different note, thanks to all who replied yesterday about blog etiquette. As most of you probably know, I try to keep up with my email and that's the way I typically choose to respond to comments. Based on your feedback, I'll probably keep it that way. Anyway, thanks. In case I haven't told you lately, you guys are great!
Why The Music Industry Sucks
I’ve had a rant building up for a while and its time to let go.
Universal – as in the big-ass music conglomerate that sets industry standards – has refused to honor its earlier agreement to lower compact disc prices to an average of somewhere around $13. They’ve cited concerns from retailers as their primary motivation to break their promise. Two simple words for Universal and all the others that follow in their footsteps: FUCK YOU!
For years, the music industry has been in decline. The file-sharing revolution didn’t help matters much and now they’ve found themselves in a big hole. Yet what they’re producing, for the most part, isn’t interesting because, as a group, they’re wholly without any sense of adventure and continue to produce Creed albums. Well, not Creed albums but half the shit coming out of the record industry sounds like Creed. Or Britney. There’s always her. Cow. Correction: cash cow.
What is the business case for the existence of an industry that overcharges for a product yet refuses to improve that product or increase the diversity of its offerings? And if you want to be a player in the music industry, you’d better play by the rules. The record companies control the distribution. Without the distribution, you don’t move the product and without that, you go away.
At the same time the recording industry actually has the nerve to expect people to NOT download music for free, illegally. They have the nerve to prosecute 15 year-olds whose only crimes were trying to get good music and not go broke at the same time. This ain’t art, folks – this is big business at its worst.
I almost single-handedly keep my local Tower, Best Buy and Borders in business so I guess I’m a real sucker. But I’m old-school. I want the jewel case in my hands. I want to flip through the liner notes. I want to read the lyrics and study the artwork. More than anything else, though, I want to listen to the people who love making music, not just the people who were savvy enough to write a hit single. I don’t want to hear Creed or Britney over and over again nor do I think I should pay and arm and a leg for the same old crap. Time to pass around the Kool Aid because we clearly can’t think on our own.
September 24, 2003
Apparently a Swedish guy was apprehended smuggling snakes into Australia in his pants. Considering that there were eight of them, four of which were king cobras, you've really got to hand it to the guy for his dedication.
Shining Example of Everyday Goodness
Albert Lexie is a shoeshine guy. You know the type - sets up camp in an office building and offers shoe shines for $3. In 1981, he started to donate his tips to pediatric patients who may otherwise not receive care. To date, he's donated $89,000.
There's a moral here - no matter what your station in life, no matter how successful you are or what your income may be, you can give something back.
I've been doing this whole blog thing for a few months now but I've got a question. If you've commented on a particular topic, chances are I've answered you with an email. But I've noticed that a lot of people respond to comments with comments of their own. I'm sure its a matter of personal preference but, since you are all readers of my site, I figured I'd get your feedback. Which do you prefer?
September 23, 2003
Michael Moore is my new hero. I've always liked his work but Bowling for Columbine (viewed over the weekend) was excellent. You may not agree with him, but he's certainly got balls to do what he does. Plus is shows Charlton Heston for the doddering old fool that he is.
The Book of Illusions
My literary thought for the day:
I always considered Paul Auster to be overrated. While I loved his last novel (Timbuktu), I didn't think it was far beyond the abilities of many other contemporary writers. However Auster's latest, The Book Of Illusions, is a masterpiece. Auster does more with 300 pages than most authors could do with a thousand.
September 22, 2003
A Couple of Things...
Its Monday and coherent posts really aren't my thing on Monday. That said, this weekend led me to the startling discovery that having to boil your water is an absolute pain in the ass. Until this morning, we had to cook, consume and brush our teeth with boiled or bottled water. And we're still luckier than a lot of the people in the area...as in, we don't have a tree in the middle of our house and we do have power.
By the way - Six Feet Under. Good, mildly amusing or just plain dull? I watched the first three episodes this weekend and I just can't tell.
September 19, 2003
In my opinion, there are few writers as gifted and versatile as Iain Banks. It continues to surprise me exactly how unknown he’s remained, especially in the United States where its difficult to find anything he’s written. Regardless, I recently finished Dead Air after finding a copy in Paris. The story begins on September 11, 2001 and, while it doesn’t focus on that theme, Banks makes a remarkable point conceived in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
“…every twenty-four hours about thirty-four thousand children die in the world from the effects of poverty; from malnutrition and disease, basically. Thirty-four thousand, from a world, a world-society, that could feed and clothe and treat them all, with a workably different allocation of resources. Meanwhile, the latest estimate is that two thousand eight hundred people died in the Twin Towers, so its like that image, that ghastly, grey-billowing, double-barreled fall, repeated twelve times every single fucking day; twenty-four towers, one per hour, throughout each day and night. Full of children.”
I’m not sure I know what kind of point I’m making with that statement or if I even intend one. Its just something that caught my attention.
Excerpt taken from Dead Air by Iain Banks, Abacus, 2002.
I Got The Power
We survived Isabel. With estimates of power outages lasting 3-7 days, we're really impressed with the fact that it just now came back on. No major damage in the area but it looks bad elsewhere (not all that far away, actually). Chalk another one up for Mother Nature. She kicks ass when she wants to.
September 18, 2003
A Happy Meal...Of Death
According to recent reports, McDonald's is going to start marketing a "health Happy Meal for adults." I'm fine with that and I think its a great idea. But when are they going to offer something for the vegetarians of the world? I'm not a militant vegetarian - I realize that my decision not to eat meat isn't really going to save too many animal's lives and it isn't too much of a moral issue with me either. Its just a choice I made. I would think, however, that these folks could offer a simple salad not covered in chicken or ham. Is that too much to ask for?
I Think We're Going To Get A Little Rain...
Let's see...all the schools in the area are closed, many businesses, the metropolitan transportation system (busses and subways) and the Federal government. Yet here I am at work. Somehow, I don't think that's going to last too much longer. Everyone's bracing for Isabel. I guess I can understand the extreme measures but I grew up on the Gulf coast - I somehow doubt this one'll top some of the one's I've made it through. Regardless, if you happen to be in Isabel's path, take care and be careful.
September 17, 2003
Over here on the left coast we're all waiting for Isabel to arrive. We're obviously looking forward to meeting her and we've all bought toilet paper, bread and batteries as gifts.
[An aside - why do people buy toilet paper whenever a hurricane or big snowstorm hits? Do people actually go to the bathroom more frequently during adverse weather events?]
Predictably, Home Depot's out of generators, flashlights, batteries and ply wood. Stores are drained of their bottled water. Patio furniture's been stowed, basketball hoops taken down, gutters cleaned.
We'll see in the coming days if we actually needed all this crap. Me? No, I was set with my normal amount of toilet paper. Water? Well, there's going to be enough of that coming down, don't you think?
Airblogging and More
After a couple dumb moves on my part, I got Airblogging up and running (thanks Anne!). I'm not exactly sure how practical it is but it is tre cool to have the ability to do. Ain't technology grand?
September 16, 2003
A Joke For Tuesday
Dirty Ernie had a bad reputation for using foul language. Luckily, his kindergarten teacher was well aware of the problem. Ernie’s teacher, Mrs. Willows, was leading the class in an alphabet exercise. She’d go through the alphabet and pick a student to come up with a word that started with that letter.
“The first letter is A. Can anyone think of a word that begins with A?” she asked.
Almost everyone in the class raised their hands, Ernie included. He waved his hand enthusiastically to get the teacher’s attention. Mrs. Willows noticed this almost immediately and, given Ernie’s reputation for bad language, considered what he might blurt out beginning with the letter A. After some careful consideration, she thought it was too dangerous. “Sally, you have your hand up,” she said. “Do you have a word that begins with A?”
“Yes I do Mrs. Willows,” she replied. “A is for apple.”
“Very good Sally. The next letter is B. Can anyone think of a word that begins with B?”
Again, most of the children raised their hands but none more enthusiastically than Ernie. And again the teacher was left considering the possible implications of choosing Ernie. She quickly decided to pick another student. “Jake, can you think of a word that begins with B?” she asked.
“Yes, I can Mrs. Willows,” Jake replied. “B is for butterfly.”
“Very good Jake. Well done. The next letter is C. Who has a word that begins with C?”
The children again raised their hands, Ernie straining to keep his the highest, his face turning red with the effort. Almost immediately, it was clear to the teacher that C was not an appropriate letter to call on Ernie for an answer to. Too many bad possibilities. “Molly, do you have an answer for the class?” she asked.
“Yes, I do Mrs. Willows. C is for cat.”
“Excellent,” Mrs. Willows responded. “Our next letter is D. Who can come up with a word beginning with D?”
As before, Ernie’s hand shot up along with many of his classmates. Yet Mrs. Willows feared what might come out of his mouth beginning with D. “Aaron, what word did you have in mind?” she asked.
“D is for donkey, Mrs. Willows,” he responded.
“Very good Aaron,” she replied.
This process went on for a while until Mrs. Willows finally reached R. Upon careful consideration, the teacher was hard-pressed to find anything offensive that began with the letter R. And Ernie’s hand had been enthusiastically raised for each letter. Most of the class had already had a chance to respond. What could it hurt?
“Our next letter is R. Who can think of a word that begins with R?” she asked.
As expected, Ernie’s hand shot up immediately. “Ernie, do you have a word that begins with the letter R?” she asked.
Ernie stood up from behind his little desk. “Yes, I do Mrs. Willows.”
“Excellent Ernie. Please tell the class your word.”
“BIG FUCKING RATS”
September 15, 2003
One of the So-Called Greats
Okay...can you tell I'm bored at work today?
Last night, I watched Platoon for the first time (yes, I know...I'm way behind). Can anyone tell me why this is thought of as a great movie? Its badly directed, the acting is not all that hot, and there's absolutely no trace of a plot. Why the hype?
One of my all-time favorite bumper stickers...
"Jesus is coming. Everyone look busy."
Breakfast of Champions
I'm trying to improve my breakfast habits. Instead of shoving PopTarts in my face on the way to work, I figured I'd try something better, more nutritious, namely oatmeal. But now that I've got a bowl full of the stuff (the instant, apple-crisp variety), its only now occurred to me that oatmeal is one of the more disgusting looking foods to have graced my office. Can I go back to PopTarts?
September 12, 2003
Observation From My Travels
We work 9-5, 5 days a week, somewhere around 50 weeks a year. We get a few holidays off and an average of two weeks a year to travel or do various fun things. But do you realize that the rest of the world (for the most part) has a much better deal going? Do you realize that Chinese workers get more time off, on average, than those of us working in the US? How the hell did that happen??
How does this tie into my vacation? Well, I noticed, for the most part, that people seemed happier. People seemed to have some innate sense of happiness, a stop-to-smell-the-roses attitude that was radiant. Something we don't have, generally speaking. Now, I could just be reading too much into this - I'm no psychic - but I really got that feel. I think we could learn something here. Work isn't everything. Making money can't be the be-all end-all. Look at the date - isn't it readily apparent that we should try to enjoy what we've got while we've got it? Didn't the events of two years ago teach us that?
If you want more information, check out the Work to Live campaign.
September 11, 2003
September 11 is a topic that's probably going to be beaten to death by the media today but its something worth remembering away from the hype. I'm sure we all have our own stories of where we were and how we heard. I'll never forget what I saw as I was driving near the Pentagon when it was attacked. Just take a little time today and remember those we lost two years ago. We were all forever changed by the events of September 11. Some, however, are unable to be here with us to reflect.
Obviously I'm back! France was wonderful but you know, there's no place like home. I can't tell you how great it was to take a long shower and get into my own bed! I'm at work, jetlagged and in dire need of coffee but its just good be back. Now...going through all this work email is going to be a pain in the ass.
More about France soon, especially when I get pics and stuff taken care of. For now, I just wanted to thank you all for your comments and stuff while I was gone. It was very nice to return to them this morning. You guys are great!
September 2, 2003
Hey From Paris
Hey everyone! Its me...remember me? Im still in Paris and will be for another day before heading into the countryside for another few days. Did you know French keyboards are different? Really a pain...so Ill keep this short. Hope all is well everywhere. Take care...more updates to come.